The assault trial of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and party MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has been postponed by the Randburg Magistrate’s Court.
This after it emerged on Monday morning that one of the instructing attorneys had Covid-19 symptoms.
The trial is expected to resume on 7 April 2022.
Malema and Ndlozi face charges of assault in connection with an incident that occurred at the funeral of struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 2018.
They are accused of assaulting police officer Lieutenant Colonel Johannes Jacobus Venter at the funeral at Fourways Memorial Park. The incident was caught on CCTV.
Malema and Ndlozi have pleaded not guilty to a charge of common assault, and claimed that Venter attempted to bar them from entering the cemetery to bid farewell to the struggle icon.
During the last court appearance in October, Venter – who is attached to the Presidential Unit – took the witness stand with his motivation for opening the assault case against the pair being brought into question.
Venter in his evidence-in-chief told the court he had been tasked with access control that day, and that the alleged assault was prompted by his refusal to allow Malema’s vehicle entry to the cemetery.
This was line with an instruction he had been given not to permit anyone other than the family or the president to drive in without permission, Venter said.
Tempers flare in courtroom
However, another altercation during a break in the proceedings received significant attention on social media, after Malema and Ndlozi were involved in an exchange of words with a man believed to be a member of the prosecution who was blocking their entry to the dock.
Malema asked the man what he is doing in the court, and accused him of causing a disturbance.
“You are blocking the entrance here with your long legs,” Malema said, with Ndlozi adding: “You were, don’t say you are not, liar. Liar.”
As the man walked away Ndlozi stated: “You see, that’s how you remove people.”
EFF supporters had already begun to gather outside the court to pledge their support for Malema and Ndlozi.