Malema and Ndlozi will answer to cop assault charges in court in October
The trial dates for EFF leader Julius Malema and the party’s MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi have been set down for October 13 and 28.
The pair face assault charges after they were allegedly caught on CCTV footage assaulting a police officer at the funeral of struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in April 2018.
The case and trial dates were heard in their absentia in the Randburg magistrate’s courts on Monday.
AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, which had pushed for the prosecution, told TimesLIVE the court sought to establish why Malema and Ndlozi had failed to appear in court.
“Both Malema and Ndlozi will have to appear in court on September 14 for a court investigation into whether the warrants of arrest against them should be suspended because they failed to attend previous court proceedings,” said advocate Phyllis Vorster for AfriForum's prosecution unit.
The two men had allegedly missed previous court proceedings due to the coronavirus pandemic and its regulations. Vorster said during Monday’s proceedings the original charge sheet could not be found and the court could not execute warrants for their arrests.
Despite these hurdles, AfriForum said it welcomed the progress in the case.
“AfriForum welcomes the setting of a court date because we have thought from the start there is a prima facie case against Malema and Ndlozi.
“The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) reconsidered its initial refusal to prosecute after continued pressure from AfriForum, and has since instituted prosecution. Now the legal process must run its course. However, we will continue to support the police colonel,” said Vorster.
The lobby group pursued action against the two after it alleged the NPA had dragged its feet on the case.
“The senior police officer opened a case with the police but it never received attention until AfriForum’s private prosecution unit started inquiring about the investigation in January 2019,” the group said.
The two accused have previously denied assaulting the police officer.
“I've never done that. If I laid a hand on him, I would have panel-beaten him. I don't play when I lay a hand. I didn't do that. Mbuyiseni didn't do that. All we were fighting for was to enter the cemetery and go to bury our mother,” Malema said when addressing a crowd outside court.