Traffic jam in Polokwane as Julius Malema trial begins

2013-11-18 08:59

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The city of Polokwane woke up to an unusual early morning traffic jam because of road closures around the court precinct where Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema was expected to stand trial from today.

Traffic was backed up several kilometres from Cosmo Leisure Lodge, where EFF supporters had held a night vigil. Some walked, while others travelled in buses, taxis and private cars towards the city.

The EFF supporters were given permission to gather at an open space near the police station around the corner from the court building. Malema was expected to address them at the end of the first day of his 10-day trial.

Downtown Polokwane was getting redder by the minute as more and more EFF supporters flocked into the town, running through traffic and singing.

They were singing pro-Malema songs while some demanded that motorists hoot as they passed by. Anti-ANC and anti-Jacob Zuma songs were also freely sung while one was heard screaming: “Feel it, the EFF is here.”

Journalists and broadcasting crews had started taking their positions early in the morning behind barbed wire rolled out around the court precinct.

There was strict access control around the court where only employees working nearby were allowed in, provided they could prove their identities.

Private security officers and police officials were seen meandering outside the court building and the precinct.

Police said they were expecting to have their hands full.

Things were expected to quiet down from tomorrow, with most of EFF supporters expected to return to their homes and provinces after today.

Meanwhile, a stage was set up at an open space close to the court where EFF supporters were expected to gather and spend their day while court proceedings get under way.

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