The elation of supporters of Julius Malema, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Commander-in-Chief, who on Tuesday celebrated the ruling by the Polokwane High Court to remove the case of fraud, money laundering and racketeering against Malema and his co-accused Lesiba Gwangwa, may be short-lived.
Llewelyn Curlewis, former President of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces has cautioned that the case was not over yet and can at any stage be reinstated.
“Strategically Judge Billy Mothle’s decision to provisionally remove the case from the roll was indeed the best option. It is best to remove a case from the roll until further notice or until all parties are available for a proper court proceeding. This is in no sense the end of the case because it can be reinstated later,” Curlewis said.
He added that should the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for whatever reason decide not to reinstate the charges, any other interested party may be allowed to proceed with the case.
Limpopo EFF Chairperson Michael Mathebe welcomed the decision by the court and said: “We have always said that this was a political vendetta against Malema and this matter was used to fight political differences. We can now focus on real issues such as next year’s elections.”
The history of the case, numerous postponements thereof, co-accused Kagiso Dichabe’s regular absence from court and the fact that the state would not submit an application for separation of the case, left presiding Judge Mothle no choice but to strike the case off the roll and order the bail money be returned to Malema and Gwangwa on Tuesday.
Gwangwa’s attorney, Laurance Hodes said Dichabe’s absence was an unreasonable delay of court proceedings and as the state did not want the case to be separated it should then be struck off the roll.
The state’s application to postpone the case was refused.
The accused were initially charged in September 2012 which allegedly involves a tender from the Department of Transport, Safety, Security and Liaison worth R52 million.
Story: RC Myburgh