Malema: ‘My conscience is clear. I have nothing to hide’

2015-08-03 15:03
Julius Malema

Julius Malema (Jabu Kumalo)

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WATCH: Julius Malema arrives at court to face corruption charges

2015-08-03 11:06

Watch as EFF leader Julius Malema arrives at the the High Court in Polokwane today to stand trial for racketeering, fraud, corruption, and money-laundering. WATCH

For a man facing more than 50 charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering, Julius Malema walked into a packed courtroom brimming with confidence. 

Making some animated gestures and moving his head from side to side like he was dancing, Malema – who was dressed in a blue suit, white shirt and a red tie – greeted journalists and photographers had a field day as they clicked away in the Northern Gauteng High Court sitting in Polokwane. 

The Economic Freedom Fighters leader’s trial was set to begin today but then hit a hurdle when it was revealed that one of the accused could not make it to court because he was in hospital. 

The trial is related to a R52-million roads project awarded to On-point Engineering. It is alleged that Malema benefited financially from the multimillion-rand project and used the money to buy a vehicle and a farm, which have since been auctioned off by the taxman to cover the embattled politician’s taxes. All these date back to Malema’s heyday as a leader of the ANC Youth League. 

Malema is accused of influencing tender awarding in On-Point’s favour and later receiving money from the company through his Ratanang Family Trust. 

Today Malema sat next to his co-accused Lesiba Gwangwa, who was the chief executive of On-Point. The pair’s co-accused, Kagisho Dichabe, who was On-Point’s chief operating officer, was not in court. 

The state asked for a postponement but Malema’s lawyer, Mike Hellens, said if the state was granted a postponement until some time early next year he would apply for a separation of trial for his client, because the defence was “more than ready” to proceed. 

Judge Billy Mothle was expected to rule on the matter. If postponed, Malema’s legal team would immediate apply for separation of trial. 

Outside the court, at a parking lot next to the Polokwane police station, multitudes of Malema supporters dressed in red waited to be addressed by Malema who left the court surrounded by a number of senior EFF leaders, including his deputy, Floyd Shivambu. 

Malema took to the podium amid loud cheers, singing and dancing from the crowd. After expressing his appreciation for their support, Malema asked his supporters not to come to court any more. He said they should rather focus on the local government elections campaign. 

He told EFF MPs to go and do their work in Parliament and “let me fight this battle”. 

“The EFF must not suffer because of me; go and do your work. I will fight this battle; it’s mine… I am accused … I was accused and was accused way before the idea of EFF emanated. 

“I must not be seen to be using you to fight my battle. Let me deal with my pain alone … I know you will be with me in spirit.” 

He ensured them that victory was in sight. “It looks like we are almost at the end of it … I appreciate the support you have given me through this difficult journey but I am happy that there is some light at the end of the tunnel because we are going to be set free by the neutral court of law,” he said. 

“I came here today to answer for my sins. I have been asking for the past three years that let me have my day in court and that day has arrived [and] I am not going to run away.” 

Malema was clearly not happy that his trial was being delayed. “One of the accused members is sick and said he can’t come to court for the next three weeks and I have asked the judge to separate me from that accused and try me alone because I want to have my day in court. I can’t wait any longer … this dark cloud needs to be resolved and therefore any form of sickness, death or any other material condition should never prevent me from having my day in court.” 

Malema and his co-accused are due back in court tomorrow. 

“I plead with the national prosecution that you have accused me for too long; let me have my day in court … let me tell my story, let South Africa know why I am persecuted and let me talk for myself because everybody has accused me of wrong things. 

“Let my side of the story be heard … because I know my conscience is clean. I have nothing to hide … I [haven’t even] stolen a pen at school ... I will never steal money from anyone.” 

Malema challenged the prosecution not to oppose his application. I urged the NPA not to oppose the separation of trial because “I want [my trial] to start as in yesterday” .

Read more on:    julius malema  |  limpopo

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