Malema laughs off money-laundering charge

2012-09-26 10:33

Expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has laughed off the money-laundering charge against him as “not so serious”.

Malema, who spent time with a moruti (preacher) yesterday, praying for the charges to go away, told the crowd outside the Polokwane Magistrates’ Court he was told beforehand that he would be charged with fraud, corruption and money-laundering.

But after handing himself over this morning, by arrangement with the Anti-Corruption Task Team, which includes the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority, “I was told there will be only one charge, money-laundering,” he said.

Later he added: “Through the power of prayer and the power of God, only one charge stands.”

Most of those who supported Malema at court today had not slept after spending last night at the night vigil in Polokwane, Xolani Mbanjwa reports.

They said they were tired and some admitted to have bunked school on their own accord to support their hero.

By the time Malema had left the court to join them outside, over 1 000 people had gathered.

Malema used the opportunity today to slam President Jacob Zuma, whom he accused of having interfered in the case through ministers in his security cluster, including Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele.

“They brought me here for nothing,” he said.

“It is just a publicity stunt. Zuma had 700 charges against him, I have one charge against me.”

Malema, dressed smartly in a dark suit, crisp white shirt and red tie, said unlike Zuma, he wasn’t calling for his charges to be dropped.

“We want to answer to all the charges and will not bring Umishini Wami to shoot the courts. We will bring our laptops and iPads to prepare our defence,” he said.

He called on the crowd to, “branch by branch”, call for the removal of Zuma at the ANC’s elective congress in Mangaung in December when nominations for positions open next week.

He also said Zuma should still face his corruption charges.

Malema again denied that he’d ever been involved in criminal activities, fraud or corruption.

“What you see is what you get,” he said.

He declared that he remained unshaken and would continue his “fight for economic freedom” by backing miners from Implats in Rustenburg in their quest for a R12 500 minimum salary.

Flanked by suspended ANC Youth League secretary Sindiso Magaqa and suspended spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, as well as organisers from Friends of the Youth League (FYL), Malema thanked the league in Polokwane as well as the FYL for organising last night’s night vigil.

Malema at the start also singled out Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale, ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe for praise when he shouted his vivas.

Before Malema arrived an unrecognised Friends of the Youth League member told supporters not to speak to the media as reporters could not be trusted.

He is due to appear in court again on November 30.

Malema also faces a R16 million tax bill from the SA Revenue Service.

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