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Here's why AfriForum want to privately prosecute Malema

AfriForum want to privately prosecute Malema.
AfriForum want to privately prosecute Malema.
Image: Alaister Russell

Advocate Gerrie Nel‚ head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecuting Unit‚ will privately prosecute Julius Malema and co-accused for fraud and tender corruption should the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) not yield to AfriForum’s demand that the case against Malema‚ involving the company On-Point Engineering in Limpopo‚ be reinstated.

On-Point‚ in which Malema’s family trust had an interest‚ was appointed in 2009 to assist the Limpopo Department of Roads and Transport with infrastructure development‚ maintenance and planning and in doing so‚ allegedly received bribes from successful tenderers.

AfriForum said it laid a charge against Malema at the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria on July 24‚ 2011 in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act‚ in connection with On-Point’s activities.

After the Hawks investigated the charge‚ the NPA started the prosecution of Malema. However‚ on 4 August 2015 the case against Malema was struck from the roll of the Polokwane High Court after one of Malema’s co-accused could not attend the hearing due to illness.

"The NPA neglected to place the case on the roll again during the two years and eight months that had since passed‚" said Afriforum.

Because of the NPA’s failure to act further‚ on March 19‚ 2018 AfriForum sent a letter to the NPA in which it demanded the reinstatement of the prosecution‚ it said.

"In reaction hereto‚ the NPA informed AfriForum in writing that the reinstatement of the charges against Malema is currently being considered and that a final decision will be taken by August 2018."

According to Adv Nel‚ AfriForum will privately prosecute Malema should the NPA decide to not reinstate the case against Malema and his co-accused.

Nel said it is unacceptable that the NPA after more than 30 months has failed to take the corruption case against Malema any further.

“AfriForum’s Private Prosecuting Unit was established for the very reason of ensuring that equality before the law is upheld and that the NPA does its work effectively. The NPA neglected its duty by simply abandoning the case against Malema‚” added Nel.

Kallie Kriel‚ CEO of AfriForum‚ said that Malema is not above the law. AfriForum wanted to ensure that Malema is called to account.

Kriel said that apart from this corruption case‚ AfriForum is also busy with two other cases which implicate Malema.

AfriForum in conjunction with AfriBusiness is currently preparing for a case of contempt of court by Malema. This follows after a court order was obtained against Malema in 2017 that forbade him to incite people to occupy land. "With his latest statements Malema is contravening this court order and therefore is acting in contempt of the court order‚" he alleged. The other case against Malema is a charge of incitement to commit crime‚ that was submitted by AfriForum and is to be heard in the Bloemfontein Regional Court. The court postponed the matter to July 2018.

Afriforum‚ tackled by journalists at its Centurion press conference on Thursday about why it was targeting figures like Malema and Duduzane Zuma‚ said it is true they are taking on high profile cases with a political link. But there's a reason.

Kriel said they were only entitled to bring private prosecutions in matters where the state's National Prosecuting Authority decided not to bring cases to court. And if they found it politically difficult to proceed‚ then Afriforum would attempt to step in.

"If the NPA doesn't do their job‚ then we have to intervene in these matters."

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