Media barred from Malema case

By Drum Digital
18 November 2013

Local and international media are not allowed access to the Polokwane High Court where EFF leader Julius Malema was due to appear.

Local and international media are not allowed access to the Polokwane High Court where EFF leader Julius Malema was due to appear on Monday, Limpopo police said.

Lt-Col Ronel Otto told reporters she had a message from the judge's office that media would not be allowed into the courtroom where Malema is appearing 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.

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.

Pedestrians with access cards who worked nearby were the only people allowed to walk near the court on Monday morning.

EFF supporters were seen lining up for red party berets and T-shirts.

Police were monitoring and barring people from passing through.

A Nyala and water cannon were also deployed to the area.

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, Malema's hometown.

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

Malema would reportedly sit for a University of SA exam on Monday morning before his court appearance.

-by Sapa

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