[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
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
join our mailing list