'I am free to go and represent my people' - Malema

2015-08-04 12:30

“I am free to go and represent my people. I am ready if they [the State] wants to reinstate charges," said Julius Malema outside the High Court in Polokwane after his fraud trial was struck off the roll.


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Last Updated at 14:54
04 Aug 13:44
WATCH, as Malema leaves court to jubilant screams...

04 Aug 12:47

For those just tuning in...

Julius Malema's fraud and corruption trial has been struck off the roll in the High Court in Polokwane.

Judge Billy Mothle stressed that the court had four ways to proceed before it.

The State requested a postponement to August 24 to allow accused number 5, Kagisho Dichabe, to recover from illness.

Alternatively, the State wanted to proceed with the trial despite Dichabe's absence.

Judge Billy Mothle ruled that neither of those were options were possible. The trial had already been delayed since 2012, while also continuing trial with one of the accused absent would be inconsistent with the law.

The court could have granted that the trials be separated, but the State had not applied to separate the trials, and therefore could not rule on that.

It's only option therefore, Mothle ruled, was to strike the matter off the roll.

The State can lay charges again at a later date.

04 Aug 12:36
“I am free to go and represent my people. I am ready if they [the State] wants to reinstate charges," says Malema.

04 Aug 12:34

“Unfortunately the State messed up its own case,” Malema continued.

“The Judge said it would separate my trial, as the court was ready to continue. But no application was filed by the State.

04 Aug 12:28

Malema stressing the importance of the judiciary in South Africa:

“The judges are not playing a political role,” Malema says.

“It is not an easy decision for a judge to rule in favour of Julius Malema.

“They are still fearless, and we must be thankful.

“We must be happy that those who created our Constitution, are seeing that vision.”

04 Aug 12:25

“The judge said I’m free," says Malema outside the court.

"We are free to be parliamentarians.

“There are no allegations, none whatsoever.

“Let them manufacture any new charges against me, they will never win. “I want to thank my family, my grandmother in particular, who stood by me, and always emphasises that I am innocent.”

04 Aug 12:19
Julius Malema is now addressing the crowd outside the court.

04 Aug 12:17
News24's Mpho Raborife says Julius Malema smiled and hugged his counsel after the ruling.

04 Aug 12:13

"For now, the case is over, you are free to go," the judge says to the accused.

However, the judge stresses that the matter can still be brought before the court at another time.

Judge Mothle also said the court did not have the authority to separate the trials, as there was no application before the judge.

04 Aug 12:07
"I therefore rule that the case is struck off the roll," says Mothle.

04 Aug 12:06

"The court is ready to advance the trial," Mothle continues.

"But we have this problem that accused number 5 (Dichaba) is not present, but also that the State refuses to separate the trials."

For the case to drag on for this long, he continues, is prejudicial to the accused.

04 Aug 12:04
"The only two options therefore is to consider separating the trials, or striking the matter off the roll," says Mothle.

04 Aug 12:02

"It would be a waste of time and prejudicial to the court and to the witnesses and the accused to postpone."

Therefore, to proceed without accused number 5 too is ruled out, Mothle says.

04 Aug 12:01

"A postponement is out of the question," says Mothle.

"I'm more concerned about the practical implications of a postponement."

04 Aug 12:00
The delays in the court proceedings have been too long.

"The case was first heard in 2012, and now we are in the 'afternoon' of 2015," says Judge Mothle.

04 Aug 11:59
Accused number 5 (Dichaba) continues to be absent due to ill health.

04 Aug 11:57

Judge says postponement is out of the question.

The judge says he has three applications before him.

The first one is from accused number5...

04 Aug 11:53
Prosecutor Laka says the State is ready to proceed, they have a witness who is ready to testify, and the State doesn't want the matter struck from the roll.

04 Aug 11:51
The judge is now addressing the State and is enquiring about its reasons why the State does not want to separate the trials.

04 Aug 11:48
Judge Billy Mothle re-enters the court and things are back underway in Court D in the High Court in Polokwane.

04 Aug 11:22

State prosecutor Andrew Laka gets up to speak...

"We can take a short tea break," he says.

The court adjourns for briefly.

04 Aug 11:20

"We don't know when accused number 5 will reappear, and we don't know how he will plead," says Hellens.

"To postpone is irregular.

"But the State says it won't separate the trial."

04 Aug 11:19
“In any event, the only way forward is to separate the trials," says Malema's lawyer Hellens.

04 Aug 11:18
"He claims no special preference. He wants to go back to his family, and back to his job. He asks for no special favours.”

04 Aug 11:18

"We have prepared ourselves for 6 weeks of trial,” Hellens continues.

"My client is like any other person in South Africa and is entitled to the protection of the Constitution.”

04 Aug 11:17

"A postponement presumes the recovery of accused number 5 and presumes that the charges will proceed. There is no certainty on that presumption," says Hellens.

"We would like to proceed with the matter. My client wishes to have his term in court and is confident of his acquittal."

04 Aug 11:13
A postponement to August 24 "prejudices his client" who is ready to proceed, while Dichaba is still absent.

04 Aug 11:12
Julius Malema's lawyer Mike Hellens is now arguing the same point as Gwangwa's lawyer, that the court separate the trials so the that proceedings can continue.

04 Aug 11:12
Julius Malema's lawyer Mike Hellens is now arguing the same point as Gwangwa's lawyer, that the court separate the trials so the that proceedings can continue.

04 Aug 11:07
Hodes suggests that his client Gwangwa and co-accused Julius Malema are being prejudiced, while the third co-accused is still absent from the court.

He would like the matter struck off the roll.

04 Aug 11:04
“The court can then proceed against accused number 5 in due course, but that matter should be struck off the roll,” Hodes argues.

04 Aug 11:03

04 Aug 11:02
Hodes argues that accused number 5 Dichaba has delayed proceedings several times.

04 Aug 11:01

Hodes says there has been an unreasonable delay in this trial.

"This court cannot compel anybody to separate.”

04 Aug 11:00
Hodes is essentially arguing that the State can’t postpone the proceedings until August 24, but also ask that proceedings continue while Dichaba is still absent from court.

04 Aug 10:58

“You cannot provisionally issue a warrant,” says Hodes.

“The accused has 14 days to appear in court.”

04 Aug 10:57
Laka says Hodes is citing a previous example that doesn't apply to the specific case before the court.

Judge Mothle rejects his suggestions, saying that case too requested a separation of the trials, so the two cases are similar.

04 Aug 10:54
State prosecutor Laka now speaks...

04 Aug 10:52
Hodes: “The accused hasn't pleaded yet, and it's a trial which happens in absentia, which our courts do not recognise.”

04 Aug 10:49
Hodes makes the point that the accused have not submitted their formal pleas yet, and therefore the case can't go ahead.

04 Aug 10:47

Advocate Lawrence Hodes now speaking for Lesiba Gwangwa.

He says the state has interpreted the law incorrectly.

04 Aug 10:41
Dichabe's lawyer, Radikgokong Nkhahle, says he has been instructed to apply for a postponement.

04 Aug 10:41

04 Aug 10:30
State prosecutor Andrew Laka asks that the court suspend the trial provisionally until the 24th, when Dichabe is expected to be back.

04 Aug 10:28

Judge Billy Mothle has entered the courthouse and proceedings are underway...

State prosecutors are now asking that the trial been postponed until accused number 5, Kagisho Dichabe, returns from ill health.

04 Aug 10:23
Malema and co-accused Gwangwa have just entered the court.

04 Aug 10:12
Julius Malema greeted by EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and the provincial secretary Josi Buthane.

04 Aug 10:06
News24's Mpho Raborife says Court D is slowly filling up.

04 Aug 10:03

04 Aug 09:56

According to court papers, Malema allegedly had business ties with Gwangwa.

Gwangwa, along with Malema and Kagisho Dichabe, are facing charges of racketeering, fraud, corruption and money-laundering.

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