Malema free to talk

2012-09-27 00:00

JULIUS Malema is free to “continue with his political activities”.

The expelled former ANC Youth League leader was today released on R10 000 bail by the Polokwane Regional Court.

Prosecutor Billy Moalosi confirmed to gasps from Malema supporters in court that the axed ANC youth league leader faced a single charge of allegedly laundering R4.5 million, as reported in The Witness yesterday.

Malema’s supporters have maintained that the charges against him are politically motivated.

Malema told the crowd outside that he was “unshaken” and would continue to fight for economic freedom.

This would include telling mineworkers to demand wages of R12 500 as their counterparts at Lonmin’s Marikana mine had demanded.

He appeared with co-accused Selby Manthata, who was released on bail of R40 000.

The state did not oppose bail for Malema, although it had originally wanted the amount set at R40 000.

Moalosi said that the R4.5 million Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust received from an allegedly fraudulent tender warranted a higher bail amount.

But Advocate Andre Bezuidenhout, appearing for Malema, said the bail amount was irrelevant as the “accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty”.

Bezuidenhout said Malema wanted to avoid a lengthy postponement because it would be to his detriment.

He also said that Malema had not yet received a copy of the docket against him.

Moalosi said that the postponement date of November 30 was to ensure that the “state had the opportunity to get the documents together for all the accused”.

This also elicited gasps from Malema supporters in court, including suspended ANC Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, who believe that the case against Malema is trumped up.

After the appearance, Nicqui Galaktiou, Malema’s lawyer, said they were pleased with the proceedings.

“Mr Malema, I’m sure, will be continuing with his political activities,” she said.

While Malema and his supporters viewed the day as a success, Hawks spokesperson Macintosh Polela said it wasn’t. “It’s not a victory, he faces a very serious charge that carries a minimum 15-year sentence,” said Polela.

He said that other investigations were continuing and that the amount of illicit money Malema allegedly received could increase.

Chaos reigned in the court ahead of Malema’s court appearance, as officials and police forced all journalists to leave the court and only allowed those who had applied for filming rights back into court.

The resulting rough-handed treatment of reporters led to one journalist, a diabetic, collapsing after being shoved by police dressed in riot gear.

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