(File image) Julius Malema. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - The issuing of a warrant for the arrest of expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was politically motivated, former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa told eNews Channel Africa (ENCA) on Saturday.

Magaqa, who was speaking in his capacity as a member of the Friends of the Youth League, said in an interview that he did not know what charges Malema would face.

He believed the charges were trumped up to serve political purposes.

“There is nothing substantive about these charges, these charges are brought to fight political battles in the ANC,” he said.

Malema's allies were not shaken by the move, because they knew there was “an orchestrated campaign to silence him,” Magaqa said.

The timing of the warrant - two weeks before nominations are opened ahead of the ANC elective conference in Mangaung and shortly after the Marikana shooting- raised suspicions about the intentions behind it.

He said the youth would rally in support of Malema.

“Young people will react, young people will defend the leader that represented their interests.”

Magaqa said that the battle for economic liberation would not be stopped by the arrest warrant.

“We are focusing our programme. We will be in each and every mine, each and every society agitating people to liberate themselves so that at the end of the day their children will be economically liberated.”

Malema is expected to appear in a Polokwane court next week.

ENCA said in an unsourced report that Malema would had himself over to authorities on Wednesday.

His attorney, Nicqui Galaktiou, could not immediately be reached to confirm this.

The City Press reported on Friday that Malema faced charges of money laundering, corruption and fraud relating to his Ratanang Family Trust and its share holding in On-Point Engineering, a company that allegedly made millions from Limpopo government tenders.

On Tuesday, Malema told reporters in Johannesburg if he was arrested, it would be done illegally.

He said he was willing and ready to go to jail, and was not intimidated. - Sapa