Malema defends using white lawyers, assault trial postponed
Johannesburg - The assault trial involving EFF leader Julius Malema and MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has been postponed until March next year in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court.
On Thursday, the police officer who was allegedly assaulted told the court that the vehicle in which Malema and Ndlozi were travelling was not permitted to enter the venue and that he stopped it to seek permission from the venue operations centre.
Defence lawyer advocate Laurence Hodes, representing both Ndlozi and Malema, continued to question Lieutenant-Colonel Johannes Venter’s testimony, telling the court that the EFF car was in fact part of the convoy and that all four people who were in the vehicle had the accreditation to be at the cemetery for the late Struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral.
He pointed to an object on the Mercedes Benz V-Class signalling it as the permit, but Venter said he never saw the permit.
Venter, who is assigned to the Presidential Unit, opened assault charges against Malema and Ndlozi after a scuffle broke out when he tried to bar their vehicle from entering the graveyard.
Hodes showed cause that Malema and Ndlozi were in fact part of the convoy.
He said the distance between the black BMW of the police and the EFF car was around 30m.
Venter earlier testified that there was a 3 minute gap between the vehicles.
“The accused vehicle was part of the convoy and you know it,” Hodes charged at Venter.
“If there was a white mark on the windscreen, as I said I did not see the visible permit,” said Venter.
“What I saw in the vehicle was the driver and Dr Ndlozi in the front,” said Venter.
This was disputed as Hodes explained that Ndlozi and Malema were in fact sitting at the back of the vehicle, while the protector and the driver were in the front seats.
The National Prosecuting Authority's Michelle Hart re-examined Venter and showed cause that the end of the convoy was at the end of the BMWs which were driven by police officers.
He said the unmarked cars that were part of the convoy were hired by the planning committee, which he was not part of.
He was being re-examined on Hodes assertion that Venter only targeted a car carrying the two leaders of the EFF and no other cars on that day.
Hart also re-examined Venter on the video submitted in court as part of the evidence.
“Ndlozi pushed me. Malema pushed me,” said Venter.
Venter told the court that both Ndlozi and Malema had aggressive facial expressions when he stopped them.
“The military members were just standing there. As I lost my balance and fell against him. It looks like he was saying to them stop.
“At that stage I was completely off balance. After I was pushed, I moved forward near Mr Malema and he was still coming towards me and the umbrella is still lower,” said Venter.
Venter said he was shocked by the events.
“Mr Malema and Ndlozi had an exchange of words with the members of the military.
“Mr Malema is moving back to the vehicle, Ndlozi is still in an exchange of words with the military police.
“Mr Malema moves back to the vehicle and the close protector is trying to get Ndlozi away.
“Ndlozi is still busy in an exchange of words. He got loose from the protector and again came forward in an aggressive manner.
“I can see that Ndlozi is very aggressive (with the military police officer) and wants to come back to where I am standing.
“It looks like he is in a wrestling fight with the military police. It looks like the military police calmed him down and took him to get him inside the vehicle,” said Venter.
Hart also re-examined Venter on his association with AfriForum, with Venter telling the court that the lobby group had also represented the family of footballer Senzo Meyiwa and Gabriella Engels, black people.
This was after Hodes asserted that the lobby group - reading from their website - represented minority groups and Afrikaans speaking persons only.
Outside court, Malema told supporters there was nothing wrong with using white lawyers and slammed those who had criticised them for using Hodes in the assault case.
“Hodes does not have a problem of having black juniors.
“They do not have a problem of briefing black senior counsel. That is why they are on retainer.
“When we leave, we must preach the gospel of equality.
“We are not calling for the oppression of a white man, we are calling for a black man to sit on the table, as an equal, as a partner in the distribution of the wealth in Africa,“ he said.
The trial was postponed until March 9.