Cop's testimony had discrepancies, says magistrate as Malema, Ndlozi acquitted for assault

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Floyd Shivambu and Julius Malema outside Randburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
Floyd Shivambu and Julius Malema outside Randburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
Gallo Images/Papi Morake
  • EFF leader Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi have been acquitted on a charge of assault. 
  • The two appeared in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday. 
  • The court found that at first glance their actions were unlawful but that they did not intend to assault the police officer. 

The Randburg Magistrate's Court has found that EFF leader Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi lacked intent to assault Lieutenant-Colonel Johannes Venter during Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's burial in April 2018.

Magistrate Leiland Poonsamy ruled on Thursday afternoon that the two were not guilty.

He said: "I find that the action of the accused at first glance appears to be unlawful, but after carefully assessing the evidence, one can never assault any human being to gain entry. The evidence in its totality also confirms the version of the accused before court. The accused further lack intent to commit the office of assault.

"The court finds that the version of the accused is reasonably possibly true. The accused did not intend to assault the complainant based on the evidence."

Poonsamy had also considered the accused's state of mind at the time.

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He said they were mourners on that day and did not anticipate they would be stopped by the officer. He said the accused believed they were entitled to be at the cemetery.

Poonsamy said the State had failed to prove that Malema and Ndlozi were not part of the convoy.

The magistrate added that during the trial, Malema and Ndlozi did not "create different versions before the court. Their versions were similar in nature".

He said Malema and Ndlozi gave the court a detailed explanation of what had happened that day.

EFF supporters outside the Randburg Magistrate's Court as Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi appeared on Thursday.

Turning to Venter's evidence, the magistrate took issue with some discrepancies in his statements.

He said Venter made four statements containing contradictions, adding his evidence was "not impressive when he tried to explain the discrepancies".

News24 previously reported that during the trial, the police officer, who is attached to the Presidential Protection Services, told the court that Malema had refused to walk into the cemetery after he had stopped his vehicle at the cemetery's entrance.

He testified that Malema's vehicle did not have a permit to enter the cemetery.

Venter said Malema and Ndlozi pushed and shoved him until he lost his balance.

The officer also told the court Malema's vehicle was not part of the main convoy that had arrived earlier, and it did not have a visible permit.

The convoy included vehicles transporting the Mandela family, the president, former and current heads of state as well as ministers.

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