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Mbuyiseni Ndlozi & Julius Malema vs Johannes Venter — 4 things you need to know about their court battle

02 November 2020 - 06:34 By cebelihle bhengu
EFF leaders Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi face charges of common assault. They appeared at the Randburg magistrate's court last week.
EFF leaders Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi face charges of common assault. They appeared at the Randburg magistrate's court last week.
Image: Sunday Times/Thapelo Morebudi

EFF leaders Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and Julius Malema will return to court on March 9 regarding their alleged common assault on police officer Lt-Col Johannes Jacobus Venter at the 2018 funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Ndlozi and Malema appeared at the Randburg magistrate's court on Wednesday and Thursday last week. Venter was allegedly pushed by Malema and Ndlozi after he denied them entry to the cemetery where Madikizela-Mandela was buried.

Venter said the vehicle Ndlozi and Malema travelled in did not have a visible permit. Defence lawyer Laurence Hodes grilled Venter about his conduct at the funeral and inconsistencies in his testimony and statement.

Here are four highlights from the case:

Malema and Ndlozi reached out to Venter 

On Wednesday Hodes told the court the duo believed there was an agenda against them. He said their car had a permit to enter the cemetery.

Hodes said Ndlozi and Malema had reached out to Venter as a “token of ubuntu” but he had rejected them.

Venter said he was responsible for protecting the president, former presidents and ministers. He said only immediate family members were allowed to enter the cemetery and other mourners would watch proceedings from the stadium via satellite TV.

He said he did not see a visible permit on the car in which Malema and Ndlozi were travelling.

He said he had asked Malema to walk to the cemetery or obtain a permit, but the EFF leader refused and insisted on driving in. Venter said he was then pushed twice by Malema and Ndlozi.

Zindzi Mandela said Malema was allowed entry 

Hodes told the court he had a statement from the late Zindzi Mandela confirming that Malema was part of the convoy and allowed entry to the cemetery as he was considered family by her late mother.

The defence lawyer said Venter had left out some information in his initial statement and that he was “making things up as you go along to help your case”.

He asked why Venter told the court that Malema and Ndlozi had accreditation tags around their necks but did not mention this in his statement.

Venter said he left out some things because he was in shock.

He was further grilled about why he did not mention in his statement that Malema said he would not walk to the cemetery but would drive in.

Hodes said Venter had told the court he did not see a permit on Malema's vehicle yet, but in his statement he said he was certain the vehicle did not have accreditation. Venter insisted he did not see the permit.

Floyd Shivhambu says Malema is a victim of a political agenda

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu told party supporters outside the court the party leader was a victim of a "political agenda" by AfriForum.

Shivambu said Hodes had exposed Venter's contradictory statements to the court.

“Hands off the commander-in-chief, hands off. Viva EFF, viva. There's a political attempt by a racist organisation called AfriForum to get our CIC and president Julius Malema convicted for nothing,” said Shivambu.

Did the vehicle have a permit?

Hodes played video footage in which Malema and Ndlozi could be seen pushing Venter. He pointed at a white piece of paper placed on the car's dashboard which he said was a permit. Venter agreed it could have been a permit.

Hodes also put it to the officer that he did not sustain any injuries from being pushed by Ndlozi and Malema, to which he agreed.

Venter was also asked by Hodes whether he had told his colleagues he was in pain after the incident. Venter replied that he did not complain because he wanted to do his job.