Malema slams 'Hollywood style' arrest of Edwin Sodi, says it is undignified

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Julius Malema.
Julius Malema.
Felix Dlangamandla
  • EFF leader Julius Malema said the Hawks' "Hollywood style" arrests are wrong. 
  • Malema said he had a problem with the manner in which businessmen and ANC benefactor Edwin Sodi was arrested.
  • He accused the NPA of continuing with Scorpions method of arrests by "projecting people as criminals".

EFF leader Julius Malema has bemoaned the Hawks' "Hollywood style" arrests, calling for them to be confronted in the same way the ANC did with the Scorpions. 

Speaking during an interview with Newzroom Afrika on Thursday, Malema said he had a problem with the manner in which businessmen and ANC benefactor Edwin Sodi was arrested. 

Sodi, alleged to have been the mastermind of the asbestos project which raked in R255 million in contracts in the Free State, was part of a group of 16 individuals arrested on charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering. 

READ | 7 accused in Free State asbestos case granted bail

The Hawks arrested Sodi in Johannesburg in the company of journalists in what was considered by some as a "Hollywood style" arrest. Sodi was taken by the Hawks from his home in the full glare of news cameras. 

This style of arrest was heavily criticised by some ANC leaders, including secretary-general Ace Magashule, who also suspected that he would soon incur the same treatment by law enforcement.

"You cannot hold Sodi accountable [by] handcuffing him as if he is a common criminal when the guy has been cooperative with the [Zondo] commission and with the police.

"If they had asked Sodi to come to Bloemfontein, how much money would they have saved the state? Sodi has been going to the [Zondo] commission by himself. The state carries no financial obligation to take him to the [Zondo] commission. The men with the stolen money that they allege, would have driven to Bloemfontein."

EXPLAINER | What happened to the Scorpions and what should come in its place

Malema warned that the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority's humiliation of suspects would be escalated to beatings and killings. 

He accused the NPA of continuing with the Scorpions' method of arrest by "projecting people as criminals".

READ | Corruption arrests: Why Ace should be sweating

"Even when later on, they are acquitted, they will still have that video on YouTube and that thing is wrong. Sipho Ngwema strategy is wrong and it must be confronted the same way it was confronted before Polokwane.

"Don't arrest people Hollywood style. Do it in a dignified manner; at the end of the day, these people will go to jail. 

"South Africans should be concerned about the Constitution. South Africans should be concerned about the rights of our people. They should be concerned about the dignity of each individual even if [they are] accused of obscene crimes, because you know what's going to happen? The beating is coming.

"They (law enforcement) are going to start beating them up and after the beating, the killing will follow. It starts very small. It doesn't matter how they get arrested, but defend their dignity," Malema said. 

Ngwema, who served as spokesperson of the elite corruption busting arm of the NPA, the Scorpions, before it was disbanded, was recently appointed as NPA spokesperson.

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