Malema trial postponed

Julius Malema. (David Harrison, MG)

Julius Malema. (David Harrison, MG)

The hearing was postponed after the defence team for one of Malema’s co-accused Kagiso Dichabe told court that their client was hospitalised and would seek a separate trial. The court heard that Dichabe has been hospitalised since last month.

Judge Billy Motlhe said he would listen to the parties on Tuesday.

Malema had earlier arrived at the court for his long-awaited trial on fraud and money laundering charges.

Malema, flanked by EFF leadership, arrived shortly before 10am and was escorted inside the court.

The fiery opposition leader and his two co-accused, On-Point Engineering directors Lesiba Gwangwa and Dichabe, face charges of racketeering and 52 other counts, including fraud.

Security outside the court was tight as Malema supporters gathered a few metres from the court building, wearing red shirts and singing pro-Malema songs.

Streets leading to the court building were closed to traffic as police set up a security perimeter, using barbed wire, to prevent motorists and pedestrians from using the street.

In March 2014, corruption charges against Malema’s business associates Selbie Manthatha, his wife Helen Moreroa and his brother Makgetsi Manthatha, were dismissed. The three were initially charged along with Malema, Gwangwa and Dichabe in September 2012.
They were accused of misrepresenting themselves to the Limpopo roads and transport department, leading to a R52-million contract being awarded to On-Point Engineering.

In court papers, it was alleged that Malema had business ties with Gwangwa, and that Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust was an indirect shareholder in On-Point. The State alleged that Malema substantially benefited from the tender payment to On-Point, using it to buy a farm and a Mercedes-Benz. Malema is out on R10 000 bail. The others are on bail of R40 000 each.

Malema has maintained that the charges against him are politically motivated and form part of a plot against him by ANC leaders.

If Malema is convicted, he would lose his seat in Parliament. – ANA

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