Defiant Juju taunts JZ again

2012-12-01 00:00

FORMER ANC Youth League president Julius Malema yesterday responded to the news that an additional charge of racketeering had been brought against him by saying this did not change the fact that “we have a president who can’t read”.

Addressing hundreds of supporters outside the Polokwane Regional Court, Malema said: “It doesn’t matter whether there is a racketeering charge or not, Zuma remains the wrong president.”

Claiming that his prosecution had been politically motivated, Malema said the ANC needed “new leaders who will not interfere with the independence of the judiciary, and who will not interfere with the independence of the prosecution”.

“We need new leaders who will settle political differences politically … The solution is Kgalema Mothlanthe,” he said.

Malema was speaking just minutes after a court appearance, in which he heard that a charge of racketeering had been added to the single charge of money laundering he already faces. The NPA also applied to have the case involving Malema’s co-accused Makgetsi Manthata, Selby Manthata and Helen Moreroa dropped.

The remaining accused, Malema, On-Point Engineers, its CEO Lesiba Gwangwa and Kagiso Dichabe, will all face a charge of racketeering, aside from the charges of money laundering, fraud and corruption they variously face.

The charges relate to the alleged irregular awarding of a R52 million tender by the Limpopo department of roads and transport to On-Point Engineers.

Malema’s money laundering charge relates to the R4,6 million he allegedly received from this deal, which the National Prosecuting Authority says are proceeds of a crime.

Racketeering is a crime where a person engages in unlawful business activities, and is often associated with organised crime. It carries a possible life sentence in South African law.

André Bezuidenhout, appearing for Malema in court, confirmed a City Press report, which said that Malema would likely argue that there had been political interference in his case.

This was based on a “political meeting” that allegedly took place between acting NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba and which was chaired by Justice Minister Jeff Radebe in Cape Town on September 13.

Bezuidenhout said, in addition to arguing that the case was politically motivated, they would challenge the charge of racketeering against Malema because Jiba had signed off on it.

Malema told his supporters that he wrote to Jiba: “You were in a meeting where politicians interfered with the independence of prosecution and [where they] gave the prosecution a mandate to prosecute me.”

Malema said he knew exactly who had been present at this meeting and alleged that Maite Nkoane-Mashabane had said: “We can not be troubled by [a] young man. Let’s do everything we can to get rid of him.”

Malema said this had led to fears by some present at the meeting that there was a plot to assassinate him. Malema said: “We will walk free from this court because politically concocted charges will never stick.”

The case has been postponed to April 23, and will likely be transferred to the North Gauteng High Court.

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