Nine in dock with Juju
Expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema will answer to charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering in a R100-million graft case that aims to bring down the so-called "Limpopo mafia".
The Sunday Times can reveal that Malema is listed as "accused No 10" on the charge sheet. He is accused with five individuals and four companies, and will appear in the Polokwane Magistrate's Court this week. He is likely to be formally charged and released on bail.
Among those who will join Malema in the dock are:
- Malema's business partner, Lesiba Gwangwa;
- On Point Engineering, of which Gwangwa is a director and in which Malema holds shares through the Ratanang Family Trust;
- Selby Manthata, the business partner of Malema's ally, Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale;
- Malema-linked company Gwama Properties, which Malema and Gwangwa used to buy a number of properties, including houses, farms and open plots;
- Segwalo Consulting; and
- Oceansite Trading.
Mathale and his wife are not among the accused.
According to insiders, Malema has been charged individually. His family trust fund, Ratanang, is not an accused.
His arrest warrant was issued on Friday.
He has already claimed that the warrant was politically motivated in a bid to silence him.
This has implications for Malema's properties, as he could lose some of them if Gwama Properties is successfully prosecuted.
On Point Engineering won a contract with the Limpopo Department of Roads and Transport, which effectively put the company in charge of directly influencing tenders.
The case is set to pit President Jacob Zuma's government and the ANC against the ANC Youth League, which has vowed to stand by its former leader.
Malema's supporters are planning to camp outside the court in support of the former youth leader - in scenes reminiscent of when Zuma faced corruption charges.
ANC Youth League spokeswoman Khusela Sangoni said Malema's arrest was "politically motivated" and meant to silence him. She said the timing of the criminal charges, a week before the official opening of ANC nominations for leadership positions, was curious. "We will never allow state resources to be used for political expediency. It cannot be that, a few days before nomination [for ANC elections], Julius is arrested.
"This issue is politically motivated and is being used to intimidate those who want change. We have been waiting for this. We knew it was inevitable," said Sangoni.
The Friends of the Youth League (FYL) - a group led by Malema and suspended youth league leaders Floyd Shivambu and Sindiso Magaqa - also accused Zuma of abusing state machinery to settle political scores.
"Our firm view is that the manufactured case against Malema is a conspiracy against the vision defined by his generation ... of economic freedom in our lifetime, in particular nationalisation of mines and strategic sectors and redistribution of land without compensation," said the FYL.
"We are convinced that the conspiracy is done by Jacob Zuma and his security-cluster ministers, led by Jeff Radebe and Nathi Mthethwa, and this conspiracy is aimed at de-focusing and silencing us from our genuine mission and from demanding leadership change in Mangaung."
It said it was convinced the courts would absolve Malema, accused by ANC leaders of seeking to destabilise the country.
Malema was not available for comment. Manthatha said: "I don't know anything so far."
Malema's lawyer, Nicqui Galaktiou, said they had been cooperating with the authorities. "What we've done since this information came to our attention was write letters to the highest authorities within the Hawks and NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] to offer our full assistance with any questions they may have ... and we assured them that there was no need for him to be arrested, but that he will present himself to court when required," she said.
Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela said they did not comment on warrants, and NPA spokeswoman Bulelwa Makeke refused to confirm the warrant.
She said: "Please be aware, we will get involved when, and if, he indeed appears in court. Until then, we would rather not contribute to speculation."