Malema off the hook - for now

Polokwane - EFF leader Julius Malema was visibly overjoyed to have his fraud and corruption case struck off the roll by the High Court in Polokwane on Tuesday.

Judge Billy Mothle said the matter had dragged on for too long.

Delivering his judgment on the matter, he said postponing the matter again was not an option.

Proceeding with the matter in the absence of one of the accused, Kagisho Dichabe, was also not an option, Mothle said.

Dichabe had been absent in court because of an illness. His lawyer claimed he was in hospital and would only be able to come to court in three weeks.

"I have a sense that starting from 2012 to 2015 is too long to have a person have a sword hanging over his head... for that reason... the case is struck from the roll," Mothle said.

Malema smiled at his lawyer, Mike Hellens and embraced him.

Charges

Malema, Dichabe and Lesiba Gwangwa were to face over 50 charges.

Malema was alleged to have 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 R52 million 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.

While the three are yet to plead before the court, Malema has proclaimed his innocence.

Mothle however, warned Malema, Gwangwa and Dichabe that the case would be placed on the court once again.

"For now, you are free," he said.

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