- EFF leader Julius Malema and MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi have both pleaded not guilty to a charge of common assault.
- They are accused of assaulting Lieutenant Colonel Johannes Jacobus Venter at Fourways Memorial Park at the funeral of struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
- Venter has taken the witness stand.
EFF leader Julius Malema and MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi have pleaded not guilty to a charge of common assault in connection with an incident that occurred at the funeral of struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 2018.
The two are on trial in the Randburg Magistrate's Court and are accused of assaulting police officer, Lieutenant Colonel Johannes Jacobus Venter, at the funeral at about 15:40 on 14 April 2018 at Fourways Memorial Park. News24 previously reported that the incident was caught on CCTV.
After pressure from lobby group AfriForum, the National Prosecuting Authority decided to prosecute.
Malema and Ndlozi claimed that police attempted to bar them from entering the area to bid farewell to the struggle icon.
CIC @Julius_S_Malema with the EFF Officials and Commissar @MbuyiseniNdlozi arrive at the Randburg Magistrate Court ahead of the trial hearing over the policeman who tried to deny them entry to lay Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at her resting place. #HandsOffCIC pic.twitter.com/H2MgjGZB9R— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) October 28, 2020
Venter, who is attached to the Presidential Unit, took the witness stand on Wednesday. He has been part of the police force for more than 30 years and has been with the unit for six years.
He told the court that several people were prevented from entering the premises on the day of the funeral.
The people included a woman who said she was from England and wanted to visit her grandparent's grave, a Limpopo man who also wanted to visit a relative's grave, and the occupants of a black SUV.
Women who were in possession of accreditation, were also not allowed to enter until the deceased's family arrived.
At around 15:40 a convoy that included officials from the Presidency and members of government, led by an army motorcade, arrived, along with the hearse.
Then, the witness said, a black Mercedes Vito arrived but there was no visible permit displayed on the left of the windscreen.
"I stopped the vehicle and went to the driver's side. The driver greeted me. I did not [recognise the driver].
"The driver informed [me] that the leader of the EFF, mainly, Mr Malema was inside the vehicle. I looked and saw he was inside. I greeted Mr Malema."
Venter tells the court that he stopped Malema's vehicle because the main convoy, which included Madikizela-Mandela's family,Presidency and other government officials had already made its way inside the cemetery.They were instructed no other was allowed.#JuliusMalema @TeamNews24— Sesona Sestien Ngqakamba (@Sesona_Ngqaks) October 28, 2020
Venter tells the court that Malema and Ndlozi had accreditations around their necks but he did not see a visible permit in their vehicle.He adds that even if it did have, he would have still stopped it because the convoy was already inside the cemetery. @TeamNews24 #JuliusMalema— Sesona Sestien Ngqakamba (@Sesona_Ngqaks) October 28, 2020
Venter told the court that he informed Malema that the vehicle could not enter but that they were more than welcome to walk in along with other guests who had arrived by bus.
"Mr Malema said he will not walk in, he will drive in.
"Whilst I was standing in front of the vehicle, I was then pushed from the right hand side. I cannot say who had pushed me."
Suddenly, Malema jumped out of the vehicle and said: "No white man will stop me!"
He said he was then pushed towards the left of the vehicle but could not see who pushed him.
At a stage, Malema and Ndlozi also pushed him, he said.
"Whilst I was still standing in the front of the vehicle, I was pushed by Mr Malema and Ndlozi," he testified
The second push was so hard that he lost his balance, the court heard.
A General Zulu warned him to avoid the altercation, he said.
Malema and Ndlozi then proceeded to enter without permission, Venter testified.
The trial continues.
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