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By Narissa Subramoney

Deputy digital news editor

Malema, Ndlozi assault case: Trial postponed, state’s final witness a no-show

While Malema and Ndlozi travelled from Mpumalanga to appear in court, the witness's absence has left the NPA red-faced.

The assault trial of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and Member of Parliament (MP) Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has been postponed to 3 June 2022.

The final state witness, who was expected to take the stand on Friday morning, was a no-show.

During proceedings, Magistrate Leland Poonsamy said that the witness had not specified any medical conditions that would prevent her attendance in court, despite a prior arrangement with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to take the stand.

The witness’s failure to pitch prompted Magistrate Poonsamy to sternly remind the state that the assault charges dated back to 2019 – and this case should have seen a speedier conclusion.

The magistrate has instructed the NPA to submit their heads of argument electronically by 13 May 2022, while the defence heads of argument are due by 20 May 2022.

Malema and Ndlozi had travelled from Mpumalanga to make their court appearance and indicated through their lawyer, Advocate Laurence Hodes, that they needed to return to the province to attend the funeral of Hillary Gardee.

Gardee was the daughter of the EFF’s former secretary-general Goodrich Gardee, who was shot execution-style earlier this week.

Assault charge

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 lazy, he’s a lazy thinker and doesn’t know his job.”

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.

NOW READ: Malema tears into ‘lazy’ NPA after his court appearance

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