No sign of EFF supporters ahead of Malema's trial

2015-08-04 09:40
EFF leader Julius Malema (News24)

EFF leader Julius Malema (News24)

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Polokwane - Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema's corruption trial was a low-key event on Tuesday morning, compared to day before.

It seemed EFF members had heeded the call of their leader, and stayed away from the High Court in Polokwane on Tuesday where Malema was set to appear.

Droves of them held a vigil in the city on Sunday and had come to the court on Monday, dressed in their signature red T-shirts, in support of Malema who was facing 54 criminal charges of fraud, corruption, money-laundering and racketeering.

Following the postponement of his trial, Malema urged his supporters to go back to work on Tuesday and allow him to fight his legal battles on his own.

"Let Julius Malema take it from here," Malema said.

"All of you, do not worry about me," he said, emphasising that this was his battle to fight and not that of the party as a whole.

While tight security measures had been put in place on Monday, the contingency measures seemed to have been relaxed ahead of the proceedings on Tuesday.

The barbed wire which was on Monday sprawled across the street in front of the court was on Tuesday rolled up.

A nyala vehicle which was parked close to the court had on Tuesday been moved further from the court building.

Fewer police officers were present, with only a handful placed on either end of the street leading to the court.

Malema and his co-accused were expected to appear in court at 10:00.

At around 08.30, a security vehicle which had escorted the vehicle Malema had travelled to court in on Monday, drove past the court.

Journalists had begun setting up with Outside Broadcast vans parked close to the court.

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

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.

While the trial was scheduled to start on Monday, it was postponed after Dichabe's lawyer said he was ill and in hospital.

The court was expected to rule whether the the trial would proceed and Dichabe would be tried separately, a move that Malema strongly called for.

"Let me have my day in court. Let me speak for myself. Let my side of the story be heard... I'm not scared," he told his supporters outside the court on Monday.

Read more on:    eff  |  julius malema  |  polokwane  |  corruption

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