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Malema, Ndlozi defence counsel grills witness on CCTV footage of duo 'assaulting' cop at Winnie's burial

EFF leader Julius Malema and party MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi in court
EFF leader Julius Malema and party MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi in court

The defence counsel for EFF leader Julius Malema and party MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has moved to discredit the witness who produced the CCTV footage which is the central evidence in their common assault case under way in the Randburg magistrate's court.

Ndlozi and Malema returned to the dock on Tuesday morning as the second witness, former Fourways Memorial Park Cemetery operations manager Deon Klingbell, took the stand in the trial.

He was asked why he had not been transparent about who he gave the footage to after the incident occurred.

The two are accused of assaulting police officer Johannes Venter when he blocked their entrance at the cemetery during the burial of Struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 2018.

As the first witness and complainant, Venter, who is attached to the presidential unit and was in charge of access control on the day, told the court in October last year that Malema and Ndlozi assaulted him and pushed him so hard that he lost balance after he told them that their vehicle could not enter the cemetery as it allegedly had no accreditation.

Advocate Lawrence Hodes SC for Malema and Ndlozi, however, moved to poke holes in Venter’s evidence and pointed out that there had been no basis to block the two as their car’s accreditation was displayed on the dashboard and visible on the CCTV footage.

On Tuesday, Hodes turned to Klingbell, who testified that he had cut several copies of the footage and given it to several police officers and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) after it was requested.

Hodes grilled Klingbell on how a shortened version of the scuffle which only showed Malema and Ndlozi pushing Venter had been cut and sent to AfriForum and leaked to the media. “There was video footage shown in the media, posted by AfriForum and other people. Do you know where they got their footage from?” Hodes asked.

Klingbell denied any knowledge of the leaks of the shortened footage.

Hodes also questioned why Klingbell had not disclosed in the first sworn statement he deposed in early 2019 that he had immediately given a copy to another police officer, Col James Bronkhorst, who is also set to take the stand at the trial.  

In his statement, Klingbell said it was only a few weeks later that he was approached by the Douglasdale police station for a copy of the footage.

The trial continues.

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