NPA takes decision on Malema firearm charges

EFF leader Julius Malema. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)
EFF leader Julius Malema. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has taken a decision on whether or not to prosecute EFF leader Julius Malema for discharging a firearm in public. 

However, the NPA said it cannot make its decision public yet because it first wanted to communicate with him. 

Malema was captured on camera seemingly discharging what appeared to be an automatic assault rifle at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane, East London, at the party's fifth anniversary celebrations last year. 

At the time, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi denied a real firearm had been used.

Lobby group AfriForum also laid criminal charges against Malema.

READ | Was the 'assault rifle' Malema 'fired' an AK-47?

In March this year, the NPA said it was waiting for an outstanding sound report before making a decision.

The latest development in the case came about two weeks ago. The investigating officer has since been in touch with Malema and it is believed he has been asked to give a warning statement. It is expected he will be charged, however, prosecutors will consider the contents of the warning statement before asking him to appear in court.

On August 21, Eastern Cape NPA spokesperson Luxolo Tyali told News24 while a decision had been made, it could not be revealed.

"A decision has been made but it has to be communicated with the two suspects before it can be shared with the public and media. We will issue a statement when the time is right," said Tyali.

It is unclear who the second suspect is, although its likely to be one of Malema's security detail.

This week, Tyali again said the matter could not be discussed publicly yet. 

"At the moment, the matter is still in the hands of the investigating officer who is liaising with the suspects. As soon as he is done, we will issue a statement," he added. 

Malema's attorney, Ian Levitt, declined to comment, while messages and phone calls to Malema and Ndlozi went unanswered.

Malema is expected to address a press conference on Thursday morning. 

NPA still 'considering' corruption charges 

Meanwhile, the NPA in Gauteng said it would make an announcement "in due course" on whether he would be recharged with corruption.

Malema initially faced charges related to Limpopo government tenders after a R52m contract was awarded to the company On-Point Engineering in 2012.

During her tenure, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found he had improperly benefited from the Limpopo government contract and that it "constituted maladministration".

The State previously alleged Malema had substantially benefited from the tender payment to On-Point, using it to buy a farm and Mercedes-Benz.

AfriForum announced in April last year Malema and his co-accused would be privately prosecuted for fraud and corruption should the NPA not reinstate the case. It was struck off the court roll in 2015. 

However, the NPA has refused to issue a nolle prosequi certificate to enable it to proceed.

It said it would deal with the case and initially undertook to make a decision on or before August 18 last year - but that is yet to happen.

In August, News24 reported the NPA's Gauteng spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane, had said: "The NPA is currently considering the case and will make an announcement in due course in this regard."

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