Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema will reappear before the Randburg Magistrates Court on 13 October to face charges of assault stemming from a confrontation at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral in 2018.
On Monday morning, Malema’s brief appearance before the Randburg Magistrates Court was preceded by fanfare, song and dance. Fresh from a full frontal attack on Clicks stores, following the outcry over a racially insensitive hair campaign, the EFF’s Commander-in-Chief appeared jovial when entering the court precinct. Flanked by EFF MP and co-accused Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, Malema’s courtroom attendance was cut short by yet another postponement.
Both Ndlozi and Malema are accused of assaulting a police colonel in April 2018. The incident, which was captured on CCTV camera, was eventually picked up by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) following pressure from civil rights group, AfriForum. Malema is expected to argue ‘self-defence’ and has previously claimed that the police officer in question physically prevented access to Madikizela-Mandela’s final resting place.
While the trial date had already been predetermined to begin on 13 October, Monday’s hearing related to a warrant of arrest which was issued following Ndlozi and Malema’s failure to appear before court on previous occasions. Both EFF members argued that lockdown-related restrictions had made it difficult to comply with pre-trial dates.
Julius Malema faces long list of legal troubles
Malema’s assault case adds to a long list of legal woes, including serious charges related to the discharging of a firearm during the EFF’s anniversary celebrations in 2018. The NPA has confirmed that Malema will appear before court on five charges; unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, discharging a firearm in a built-up area or public place and reckless endangerment to people or property.
Malema has explained that he intends to plead ‘not guilty’ to all charges, despite video footage of the incident clearly showing the EFF leader discharging what looks to be an automatic assault rifle while on stage at the Mdantsane stadium in the Eastern Cape.
Malema may also have to answer for the chaos which enveloped Clicks stores last week. Andrew Whitfield, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Shadow Minister of Police, laid charges of incitement to violence, malicious damage to property and intimidation against the EFF leader on 8 September. Following Malema’s call to ‘attack’, several Clicks outlets were vandalised with customers and staff members reporting incidents of harassment. Malema has since deleted the social media post which called for members of the party to attack the health and beauty retailer.
EFF leader slams ruling party’s new ‘anti-corruption’ policy
While Malema’s appearance before the Randburg Magistrates Court related to his own controversial brand of politics, the EFF leader spent most of his media time attacking the African National Congress (ANC) and, in particular, the ruling party’s recent resolution regarding members accused of corruption.
Following a swell of corruption related to the looting of coronavirus relief funds, President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed that the National Executive Committee (NEC) had agreed to suspend party members who faced unresolved legal charges.
Malema defined the latest declaration as a ‘kangaroo court’, arguing that the ANC’s new policy subverted the Constitution of South Africa. Malema explained that ANC members could not be forced to step aside pending the outcome of judicial processes but added that those with ‘guilty consciences’ should do the ‘right thing’ and resign.