Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum briefed media on Wednesday morning on three cases involving Economics Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema.
AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said the reluctance of the NPA to prosecute Malema has led the EFF leader to believe that he is above the law.
“We are here to make sure there is equality before the law. You are not above the law, whether your last name is Kriel or Malema. Malema thinks he’s untouchable”, he said.
Kriel brought up the various cost orders the organisation has won against the EFF and its leader, putting the total at five and claiming that the party has already paid three of those.
Kriel then handed over to head over to the head of AfriForum’s private prosecutions unit, Advocate Gerrie Nel, to discuss the first of the three cases, involving the On-Point Engineering scandal. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said in March they have not yet made a decision on whether or not to prosecute Malema over corruption related to alleged tender irregularities.
Nell says the AfriForum private prosecutions unit got involved due to the “the irrational decision of the NPA not to follow or withdraw from the prosecution”.
AfriForum says they filed a case over Malema’s alleged tender fraud back in 2011, which the Hawks investigated, finding evidence of corruption which led to them begin prosecuting.
They say the case was scrapped in 2015 due to Malema’s co-accused, Kagiso Dichabe, failing to attend the trial due to illness, alleging that the NPA then failed to put the matter back on the roll.
The lobby group then wrote to the NPA demanding the reinstatement of the case, which led to a letter from the authority saying a decision would be made on this by August 2018. This year it was reported that they are still deciding, which is not good enough for AfriForum, who have decided to privately prosecute as a result.
Malema, alongside On-Point Engineering directors Lesiba Gwangwa and Dichabe, were arrested and charged in 2012. Malema was granted R10,000 bail, while Gwangwa and Dichabe were let out on bail of R40,000 each.
The case saw On-Point Engineering and another company, Gwama Properties, face charges of racketeering as well as 52 other counts, including fraud.
They faced more than 50 charges of corruption and racketeering. Dichabe was absent from the court proceedings. The court heard on Tuesday that he was suffering from depression, and his defence counsel had applied to have the matter postponed.
The case was struck from the court role in 2015, with the NPA stressing that the charges could be reinstated.
“This is not an acquittal, it is not a verdict as the judge stipulated. The matter was just struck off the roll … possibilities are that the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with jurisdiction can be approached to issue a certificate to reinstate the matter,” said NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku at the time.