Media allowed into Malema court case

By Drum Digital
18 November 2013

Journalists have been allowed to enter the Polokwane High Court after a "miscommunication" ahead of the corruption case against EFF leader Julius Malema

on Monday.

"We sincerely apologise for the miscommunication around the media access to court proceedings..." justice department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said on his Facebook wall.

"The matter has now been resolved and court reporters will now be allowed to attend court proceedings."

Earlier, media were barred from entering the courtroom where the former ANC Youth League leader was due to appear for allegedly making nearly R4 million from corrupt activities.

He is out on bail of R10,000 and faces charges of fraud, corruption, money-laundering, and racketeering. Before 10am, Malema arrived at court after apparently writing a University of SA examination.

Supporters and members of the Economic Freedom Fighters gathered outside the court ahead of the trial. Clad in red, members of the party chanted anti-government slogans and moved from one street corner to another. Minibus taxis were continually dropping off more supporters.

Malema's co-accused are his business associates Kagisho Dichabe, Lesiba Gwangwa, Helen Moreroa, and Makgetsi Manthata. They are out on bail of R40,000 each.

The State alleges Malema and the others misrepresented themselves to the Limpopo roads and transport department, leading to a R52m contract being awarded to On-Point Engineering.

According to court papers, Malema had business ties with Gwangwa, a director of On-Point Engineering. Malema's Ratanang Family Trust was an indirect shareholder in On-Point.

The department paid the company R43m. According to the charge sheet, Malema substantially benefited from this payment, using it to buy a farm and a Mercedes-Benz.

Police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi warned that security would be tight at the court. Police would also keep an eye on the city centre and Seshego, just outside Polokwane, from where Malema hails.

"The aim is to ensure peace and stability. No lawlessness will be tolerated and those who break the law will be arrested immediately," Mulaudzi said.

-by Sapa

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