Malema charges: NPA now says no decision has been taken over discharging firearm in public

Julius Malema, EFF leader. Photo: Archive
Julius Malema, EFF leader. Photo: Archive

The National Prosecuting Authority has confirmed that a decision on whether or not to prosecute Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema for discharging a firearm in public, has not been taken.

“The NPA confirms that it is yet to take a decision whether or not to prosecute in the Malema matter in the Eastern Cape,” said NPA Chief Director of Communications Bulelwa Makeke on Thursday evening.

On Thursday, News24 reported that the NPA had confirmed that a decision had been taken but that it could not make its decision public until it had communicated with Malema.

READ | Malema expects NPA to charge him for discharging firearm in public

On Wednesday, NPA spokesperson in the Eastern Cape Luxolo Tyali confirmed that 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. "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 was captured on camera seemingly discharging what appeared to be a semi-automatic 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.

'I will answer in court'

The EFF leader held a press conference on Thursday to discuss the recent spate of violence in parts of the country and to address gender-based violence.

Asked to respond to reports that a decision had been taken in his case, he said he anticipated that the NPA would charge him for discharging a firearm in public.

"The police say we have taken a decision to charge him, but we are waiting for the right time. How can you wait for the right time?" he asked.

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

"What is the right time because if crime is committed, you must charge immediately and act decisively. I will hear because they said I must go and take a warning statement. A warning statement means you are charged so they are going to charge me. I will answer in court," Malema said.

Malema claimed charges against him were part of political mudslinging. He said, as politicians, it was part of the tactic to look for everything.

He added that some within the government even hoped that he would be implicated in social media posts in which politicians were accused of sexual assault.

"It's our life. We are not even worried about it."

Malema is expected to meet investigators and prosecutors next week to provide them with a warning statement.

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