Faizel Patel
2 minute read
6 May 2022
7:07 am

Malema and Ndlozi back in dock for assaulting cop at Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral

Faizel Patel

Malema previously accused the prosecutors of being “incompetent and lazy”

EFF leader Julius Malema and MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi during a previous court appearance. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and Member of Parliament (MP) Mbuyiseni Ndlozi are expected back in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Malema and Ndlozi are charged with assaulting a police officer Lieutenant Colonel Johannes Jacobus Venter at the funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at Fourways Memorial Park in April 2018.

During their last court appearance, Malema accused the prosecutors of being “incompetent and lazy”.

He accused senior prosecutor Yusuf Baba of taking too long to wrap up the 2018 assault case.

“We’ve been coming to listen to a case of common assault case for four years. How can a common assault case take four years?” said Malema.

“We’re still coming here because we’ve got an incompetent NPA. The prosecutor here called Baba has taken this case as a personal matter, he wants to appear on TV in the name of the EFF… there is nothing he is doing except being a lazy, he’s a lazy thinker and doesn’t know his job.”

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Malema and Ndlozi have pleaded not guilty and claimed that Venter attempted to stop them from entering the cemetery to bid farewell to Madikizela-Mandela.

The EFF leader told supporters that all they did was defend themselves against Venter.

The trial was set down for two days last month, but one of the state’s witnesses, a General Zulu, informed the court she was ill and unable to appear.

The state also decided not to call another witness who was scheduled to appear.

Defence Advocate Laurence Hodes argued against any postponement, saying his clients had a right to a speedy trial.

Hodes told the court that once the state had closed its case, he would apply for both Malema and Ndlozi to be discharged.

In his evidence-in-chief during the previous appearance, Venter 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.

The state relied on video footage to prove its assault case against Malema and Ndlozi when two contradictory versions of how this crucial evidence was handled by police emerged.

Video footage of the incident seems to show the duo pushing and shoving Venter after he refused their vehicle entry.

The pair first appeared in the matter in November 2019.