[QODLink]
Africa

Malema court hearing postponed to next year

Adjournment means corruption case against ex-ANC youth leader will not be heard before party's key December conference.
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2012 20:42
Malema, right, was President Jacob Zuma's, left, main supporter during his bid for the ANC leadership in 2007 [Reuters]

A South African court has postponed the corruption case against former African National Congress (ANC) youth leader Julius Malema, as the court added racketeering to the list of criminal charges against the fallen star of the ruling party.

Magistrate Janine Ungerer postponed the case to April 23, 2013, while Malema's lawyers indicated they intend to argue that the charges are politically motivated.

Friday's adjournment means the case will not be heard before a crunch ANC conference in December that could see President Jacob Zuma, Malema's one-time ally-turned-nemesis, face a leadership challenge.

Andre Bezuidenhout, Malema's lawyer, told Polokwane Magistrate's Court: "We plan to argue that there was political influence in charging Mr Malema.

"It does not matter whether there is racketeering or not, I am not scared"

- Julius Malema

"We are aware of a meeting that took place in Cape Town before he was charged."

Malema appeared confident throughout the proceedings, dressed in a black suit and a red tie he shook hands with his family and police inside the court room.

The 31 year old, who was kicked out of the ANC earlier this year for sowing indiscipline in the ruling party, appeared before the court accused of using his political clout to win public contracts through a complex pyramid of companies.

Motlanthe support

Malema and his associates are accused of lying and influence-peddling to win infrastructure contracts valued at $6.3m.

He was initially charged with money laundering, which could result in up to 15 years in prison and a large fine.

Malema, formerly the leader of the ANC's Youth League, has alleged he is being prosecuted as punishment for his high-profile dispute with Zuma.

Malema told his supporters outside court that he was unfazed by the additional charges of racketeering, insisting that his only crime was exposing a lack of leadership in the ruling party.

"It does not matter whether there is racketeering or not, I am not scared," he said to loud cheers.

Malema also made his choice for the ANC leadership known as he addressed the crowd of mainly young people.

"We must make sure that Kgalema Motlanthe becomes president. In Mangaung we must not vote for a tribalist," he said in an attack on Zuma.

The court extended Malema's bail of $1,215, which he was given in September.

415

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.