/ 28 November 2013

Security tight, EFF members support Malema ahead of court bid

At the launch of the Economic Freedom Fighters
At the launch of the Economic Freedom Fighters

Streets leading to the Polokwane circuit of the high court in Pretoria were closed to traffic ahead of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema's court appearance on Thursday.

Six streets leading to the court were barricaded with security wire, forcing motorists, workers and shoppers to use alternate routes.

The expelled ANC Youth League president faces charges of fraud, corruption, money-laundering and racketeering.

It is alleged that he made nearly R4-million from corrupt activities.

Malema is out on R10 000 bail. His four co-accused, who are his business associates, are out on bail of R40 000 each.

On Thursday, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader is expected to make representations to the judge in an attempt to have the charges against him dropped.

Songs against Zuma
The state alleges that the five misrepresented themselves to the Limpopo roads and transport department, leading to a R52-million contract being awarded to On-Point Engineering.

According to court papers, Malema had business ties with Lesiba Gwangwa, one of the co-accused and a director of On-Point Engineering.

Malema's Ratanang Family Trust was an indirect shareholder in On-Point.

The department paid the company R43-million. According to the charge sheet, Malema substantially benefited from this payment, using it to buy a farm and a Mercedes-Benz.

If the charges are not dropped, Malema's trial would be heard from September 30 to October 31 next year.

Meanwhile, hundreds of EFF members gathered in the Polokwane police station foyer on Thursday to support their leader Malema ahead of his court bid to have the charges against him dropped.

Malema's supporters held placards and banners. They also blew vuvuzelas and some waved knobkerries as they chanted songs against President Jacob Zuma.

"Muso wa Zuma reya o menola", meaning "we will unseat Zuma's government", they sang. – Sapa