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Johannesburg - Julius Malema will be in town, so prepare for inconvenience. This is the police's message to the public.
When Malema appears on money-laundering charges in the Polokwane Regional Court on Friday, major streets will be cordoned off.
Police said they would be doing this to tighten up security. “Members of the public are cautioned to take note that the streets around the Polokwane court will be closed for traffic from [midnight on Thursday],” said provincial police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.
Landdros Maré Street, where it intersects with Thabo Mbeki and Rabe streets, will be closed to motorists.
Mulaudzi said the police would also close Bodenstein Street between Church and Hans van Rensburg streets. The SA Social Security Agency offices, the Polokwane municipal rates hall, Sars and the police station will not be accessible to motorists.
“We understand they will be inconvenienced. We are aware that it's month-end as well, but this is a security measure,” said Mulaudzi.
He urged those who work in the vicinity to bring their employment cards for identity purposes. Failure to provide this would mean they would not be allowed to walk past the spot where barbed wire will be erected.
Security will be tight not only at the court area. Mulaudzi said Malema's township, Seshego, east of Polokwane, would be under a watchful eye.
Mulaudzi would not say whether Malema's grandmother's house would be guarded by police, as they did during his first court appearance in September.
“There are problematic areas that we have identified [in Seshego]. This does mean service delivery will be hindered,” he said.
“[People] are also advised that only a limited number of people, as well as media members, will be allowed into the courtroom,” he said.
During his previous court appearance, Malema's two bodyguards, one of his aunts, as well as a cousin, were barred from entering the court.
The gates were locked immediately after Malema, who had been in custody, was taken in by police.
But on Wednesday, Mulaudzi said Malema's family would be prioritised.
Meanwhile, a night vigil organised by the provincial ANC Youth League has been organised for tonight at the Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane.
This is despite an instruction by the league's Ronald Lamola - referred to as “acting president” in a press release - that league structures must not associate themselves with Malema's court appearance.
Lamola, who attended Malema's first court appearance, has broken ranks with the expelled youth leader.
This has angered Malema, who labelled him a “traitor and sellout” this week. In an exclusive interview with The Star, Malema said Lamola, who he called a “small boy”, would never lead the youth league.
Malema faces 16 counts of money laundering relating to R4.5 million that was deposited into his Ratanang Family Trust. This relates to proceeds from a R52m illegal contract awarded to On-Point Engineering by the Limpopo Roads and Transport Department.