The common assault trial of EFF leader Julius Malema and former party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi which was meant to begin on Tuesday at the Randburg Magistrates’ Court has been postponed to June.
The pair’s legal representatives had requested more time to prepare their defence.
“It is unfortunate that the court proceedings had to be postponed because the legal team representing Malema and Ndlozi wasn’t ready to handle their defence,” AfriForum’s chief executive Kallie Kriel said.
“Although they succeeded in delaying the legal process today, they won’t be able to escape justice in the long run. AfriForum will see to it that they get their day in court,” he said .
The case will commence on June 23 and is set down for two days.
AfriForum has been at the forefront of pushing for the EFF leaders to face the music after accusing the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of dragging its feet in pursuing a case against them.
Malema and Ndlozi allegedly assaulted a police officer in uniform in 2018 during the funeral procession of late struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
The incident was captured on CCTV.
The senior police officer laid a complaint with the police, but the case received no attention until AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit made an enquiry in January 2019.
AfriForum announced in July 2019 that the organisation would approach the court with a mandamus application to force the NPA into making a decision about the prosecution of Malema regarding this case and two other hanging cases against him.
At their last court appearance in November, Malema denied that he and Ndlozi had assaulted the officer.
“I’ve never done that. If I laid a hand on him, I would have panel-beaten him. I don’t play when I lay a hand. I didn’t do that. Mbuyiseni didn’t do that. All we were fighting for was to enter the cemetery and go and bury our mother,” Malema said.
Appearing before the Randburg Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday alongside Ndlozi, Malema again denied having assaulted the police officer.
“I didn’t do that. We had all the right to be there and he was not going to stop us,” Malema said.
“If we are going to prison for having fought to bury Winnie Mandela, so be it. Let it be. We are being arrested for fighting to bury a revolutionary. I think it was a genuine cause,” said Malema.