Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
20 Apr 2018
6:23 am

Why Malema? And why now?

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

At face value, it smacks of a witch-hunt that seeks to muzzle Malema - it does not look like a genuine attempt to see justice done.

Julius Malema speaking at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's funeral in Soweto. Picture: EFF Twitter

The question of whether EFF leader Julius Malema should be prosecuted on allegations of fraud and racketeering is not in dispute here.

If there is a case, it must be heard in a court of law.

In fact, it has, but we shall deal with that separately.

But should South Africans not also question the motives of a minority rights lobby group AfriForum, whose politics regularly clash in the public eye with that of Malema, when the first case it decides to pursue is against its very own nemesis who they have repeatedly instituted legal action against?

This, I think, is where the danger of a broken justice system, which the public has lost faith in, lies.

If the National Prosecuting Authority is increasingly seen as weak on prosecuting corruption cases, private prosecution is going to start playing a bigger role in assisting disillusioned members of the public.

The trouble then becomes the fact that the separation between state and political power protects any accused civilian from being subjected to a compromised prosecutor whose motives go beyond that of justice – something that is not necessarily guaranteed in a private prosecution.

If AfriForum’s private prosecution unit wants to be seen as separate from its otherwise politically motivated civil rights endeavours (such as opposing the banning of the old South African flag; lobbying against a non-existent white genocide which furthered the divisive ‘reverse-apartheid’ narrative), then its first choice for a case is a terrible one.

At face value, it smacks of a witch-hunt that seeks to muzzle a voice the organisation goes to great pains to speak against. It does not look like a genuine attempt to see justice done.

This well-resourced organisation has in its hands an opportunity to enact real change in the communities it supports.

One has to ask oneself as many journalists asked yesterday: Why Malema? And, why now?

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

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