Malema claims he is victim of a conspiracy

"Now advocate [Nomgcobo] Jiba who heads the National Prosecuting Authority, was in a meeting with [Justice] Minister Jeff Radebe, [Police] Minister Nathi Mthethwa, [International Relations Minister] Maite Nkoana-Mashabane with [national police commissioner] Ria Phiyega, where they developed a plan to arrest me," he told his supporters outside the high court in Polokwane on Friday.

He appeared, along with four business associates, in the court earlier on charges of fraud, money-laundering, and racketeering.

He told the crowd the meeting was intended to find ways to remove him from politics. "I wrote to advocate Jiba. And I told her that you were in a meeting where politicians interfered with the independence of prosecutions and gave prosecutors a mandate to persecute me, because they have political differences with me," he said.

"I also brought that matter to the attention of the court." He intended to prove these "conspiracies" in court. He told the crowd that the charge of racketeering that had been added to the case was serious as it could see him sentenced to life imprisonment.

Malema, however said he was not afraid of the added charge as he was innocent. "I say to you, I do not have butterflies in my stomach … I do not panic that I will be arrested for committing a crime."

He thanked the group gathered near the court since Thursday night. They held a night vigil ahead of his appearance on Friday and waited for him to address them after proceedings.

Malema's lawyers said in court they would challenge two issues when the matter resumed next year. These were his apparent unlawful arrest on September 25, and the alleged conspiracy to remove him from politics.

He told the crowd that Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe should be elected ANC president at the party's national conference in Mangaung next month. "If we fail in Mangaung we fail South Africa, we fail Africa, we fail the people and we fail humanity … [Jacob] Zuma remains a wrong president. Even if you bring more charges, you can bring as many charges as you can, it won't change the fact that we have a president who can't read," Malema said to cheers.

The matter was postponed to April 23 2013. – Sapa

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