Prosecutor on receiving end of Julius Malema’s theatrics

2013-06-21 09:07

The ground may slowly be moving under Julius Malema’s feet, as his personal possessions are auctioned off left, right and centre – but he’s not showing it.

The former ANC Youth League leader was exceedingly clownish when he appeared in the Polokwane Magistrates’ Court on charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering yesterday. The matter is again in court today.

Malema, who donned a smart grey suit, white shirt and a red tie, had the packed court room in stitches every now and then as he poked holes in prosecutor Billy Moalosi’s arguments.

The court orderly had a tough time controlling the court, with people bursting out laughing every few minutes.

Throwing someone out of court to show authority was done in vain as Malema’s theatrics kept them laughing. Malema had little trouble interrupting court processes, telling Magistrate Mohamed Shaik that he was cold or that “I’m tired”. A chair had to be organised for him to sit down.

Moalosi and his team were arguing that the court should grant them another opportunity to postpone the case so that a suitable trial date could be found.

But Malema and his co-accused’s defence would have none of it.

They contended that when they last appeared in court on April 23, the magistrate had given a clear instruction that the prosecution team should go and secure a trial date and announce whether the case would be moved to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria or the High Court would be brought to Polokwane.

In response, Malema told Moalosi: “The NPA was incompetent. You are a disgrace. The whole country has an outcry because of you, you do not serve our people.

“If you can mess up the case of somebody like me who has a high profile how much more the person in the rural village or township?”

To prove that he is no ghostly vestige of his former self, Malema further told Moalosi: “You are messing up. You have never inspired confidence. You are undermining the courts and you are turning us into a banana republic. You are not ready (to proceed), and you will never be ready. You are dragging your feet so that the case will be thrown out of court”.

Malema, eyes glinting with anger, went for the jugular: “I don’t understand you have been so unprofessional. You have not done your job. You were lazy to do your job.”

He took the time to address Shaik politely as “your worship” or “my Lord”. He told him that it was his court’s responsibility to “whip lazy civil servants into line”.

Moalosi told the court that he could not secure a court date as some lawyers representing some of Malema’s co-accused had not indicated to him if they would be paid in order to appear on behalf of their clients.

Malema and his lawyer, Tumi Mokoena, also gave a clear indication of the defence strategy they will use when the corruption trial eventually gets under way: that he is the victim of a political conspiracy.

Malema, who was asked to tell the court how a postponement would affect him, said: “Billy Moalosi is a product of a political conspiracy. The NPA is a product of a political conspiracy by the Zuma administration. The whole process is flawed and has political interference. At the right moment, we will bring the evidence before the court.”

That Malema would rely on the claim that the case against him was politically motivated became abundantly clear when he reiterated details of an alleged conspiracy against him – that the directive to charge him was issued by politicians at a Security Cluster Meeting held in Cape Town in October last year.

Malema said the fact that he was charged a few days after the meeting was proof that politicians had demanded that he be charged.

“President Zuma delivered Nomgcobo Jiba’s (the NPA’s acting head) husband out of prison. Now Jiba must deliver me to the president to be jailed.” Malema said this in reference to the fact that Zuma had pardoned and expunged Booker Nhantsi’s criminal record. In 2005, he had been convicted of stealing a client’s money from his trust account.

Malema said further delays would prejudice his political career.

He recently announced that he was launching a consultation process that could result in the formation of a party.

Malema drew parallels between his case and the rape and corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma, saying it was difficult to sell Zuma to the branches of the ANC when the rape charges were still hanging over his head.

The prosecution and defence will present their closing arguments this morning and Shaik is expected to rule if the matter will be postponed for a trial date to be confirmed or if it will continue.

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