Malema supporter: Zuma is like a butternut

2015-08-03 15:04
Cleo Maepa holding up the 'Zuma' butternut. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Cleo Maepa holding up the 'Zuma' butternut. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Polokwane - A supporter of under-fire Julius Malema has been carrying around a butternut at the EFF leader’s fraud trial, claiming President Jacob Zuma was 'like a butternut'.

One of Malema's supporters, 24-year-old Cleo Maepa, who was carrying a butternut with "Zuma" written on it, said he believed his leader was wrongfully accused.

"Zuma has three heads [like this butternut] but he does not think... He is accusing our chief in command for nothing."

He said Malema and the EFF had what it takes to win the local government elections in 2016 and the national elections in 2019.

"I believe and I think [the EFF] will take the local municipalities, and in 2019 Julius will be the President of the State.

He had come to support Malema and had been a member of the party for two years.

‘Tired of waiting’

Malema, meanwhile, said he was tired of waiting for his day in court and was ready to tell the world his side of the story.

This was revealed on Monday after Malema and his co-accused Lesiba Gwangwa appeared briefly at the Polokwane High Court on charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering.

Judge Billy Mothle adjourned the matter to Tuesday after one of the accused failed to appear due to an illness which would see him hospitalised for three weeks.

"One of our accused members is sick and he says he cannot come to court for the next three weeks. I've asked the judge to separate me from that accused and trial me alone because I want to have my day in court. I cannot wait any longer," Malema told the scores of supporters who had come to support him.

"I plead with the judge and with the National Prosecuting Authority, 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'm persecuted."

Malema said people had been speaking for him and he wanted an opportunity to set the record straight.

"Let my side of the story be heard, because it is important that I tell the side of my story."

Won’t run

He said unlike others, he would not run from the law.

"I came here today to come and answer for my sins because, all of us, when we are accused by authorities, we must respect the institutions of the State and subject ourselves to the rule of law because I am not above the law.

"I'm not going to run away because I have never pretended [not] to have wanted my day in court, I was genuinely looking [forward to] this day in court. This day is here."

"I joined the EFF because I love truth. Malema is always telling the truth and when he says something he just says it straight to the point."

Pictures also circulated of another Malema supporter, wearing a DA T-shirt, but carrying placards saying: "You will never put a good man down."

Malema and his co-accused, On-Point Engineering directors Kagisho Dichabe and Lesiba Gwangwa face charges of racketeering, fraud, corruption and money-laundering.

Business ties

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

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

It was alleged that Malema used some of the money to buy a farm and a Mercedes-Benz.

All three are out on bail.

Before court proceedings began about 11:00 on Monday, EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said one of the reason's proceedings were postponed was because the NPA did not want the media to report on the matter.

"We were fighting for an application by the State to have the media kicked out, they wanted to have the trial behind closed doors.

"We were opposed to that and we argued that we have nothing to hide. What is it that they are trying to hide, why are they trying to kick people who must report to the entire country and the world about this trial?" Ndlozi asked.

Read more on:    eff  |  julius malema  |  polokwane

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