MALEMA CORRUPTION TRIAL: Could this be the beginning of the end?

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - SEPTEMBER 30, 2014

The trial of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Commander-in-Chief, Julius Malema, gets underway in the Polokwane Magistrate's Court on Tuesday – and is expected to close on 31 October.

Having vehemently stood up against President Jacob Zuma on the Nkandla-saga and having accused the ruling African National Congress (ANC) of “chronic kleptomania” of public funds, Malema himself faces charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering – from which he allegedly made early R4 million.

When the EFF was launched in July 2013, Malema said the party was founded on the principle of anti-corruption.

"No one found guilty of corruption... will wear the beret," he said, sporting a bright red EFF-branded beret.

The State alleges that Malema and his four co-accused, who are his business associates, misrepresented themselves to the Limpopo Roads and Transport Department, leading to a R52 million contract being awarded to On-Point Engineering.

According to court papers, Malema had business ties with Lesiba Gwangwa, one of the co-accused and a director of On-Point Engineering.

Malema's Ratanang Family Trust was an indirect shareholder in On-Point.

The department paid the company R43 million and the charge sheet says that Malema substantially benefited from this payment, using it to buy a farm and a Mercedes-Benz.

If Malema were convicted, he would lose his seat in Parliament. He is currently out on a R10 000 bail and his four co-accused are out on bail of R40 000 each.

Photo caption: The trial of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Commander-in-Chief, Julius Malema, gets underway in the Polokwane Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.