AfriForum has announced its plans to privately prosecute EFF leader Julius Malema for fraud and corruption.
The charges relate to a 2012 investigation about improper tenders awarded to a engineering company called On Point. Malema and two others were accused of unlawfully securing a tender, and then accepting bribes from subcontractors. The hearing was set to proceed at Limpopo High Court, however the case was struck off the roll in 2015 because one of the co-accused was too ill to stand trial.
Public prosecutor Gerrie Nel will be taking the case forward for AfriForum. Nel said a quick check online had confirmed that Malema’s co-accused had recovered from his illness, leaving no reason why the case should not proceed.
He asked the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) if it was planning on reinstating the matter, and said he was told that the NPA would need until August to decide whether to prosecute the case.
“That is a bit troubling to us, because the matter was struck off the roll because one of the accused was ill and couldn’t proceed with the trial,” Nel said. “So why they would now need to decide if there’s a prosecution is a bit troubling and peculiar.”
AfriForum’s Adv Gerrie Nel explains what the matter relates to. This morning the organization announced thay it would be taking legal action against EFF’s Julius Malema. (@MandaKhoza) pic.twitter.com/xafDmIfPJl
— Team News24 (@TeamNews24) April 19, 2018
The EFF leader seemed unintimidated by the threats of prosecution from Nel and AfriForum.
Bring it on bloody racists, you don’t scare me at all. I’m born ready! No white man will decide my destiny, the poor masses of our people will… pic.twitter.com/nKkjHbXqYv
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) April 19, 2018
AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said that Malema was masquerading as someone who cares for the poor, but meanwhile stole money from the people of South Africa.
“When such a person, like in the case of Mr Malema, goes ahead and steals state money or taxpayers money, money that should benefit the poor, we believe such a person should be held accountable,” Kriel said at a press conference announcing the prosecution.
However, the case may not proceed without hiccups. As legal expert Pierre de Vos has pointed out, the NPA is supposed to be responsible for all prosecutions of crime in South Africa, and private prosecutions such as the one AfriForum seeks are very difficult to achieve and only allowed in very narrow circumstances.
Wrote this last year, explaining how private prosecutions work: Gerrie Nel’s politically dubious decision: extremely difficult to institute private prosecutions #Afriforum https://t.co/DhytOO40hY pic.twitter.com/SLPDtqXCpd
— Pierre de Vos (@pierredevos) April 19, 2018