Julius Malema had to temporarily put aside the activities of his new political party to focus on his personal legal problems. He appeared at the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning regarding the charges of fraud and corruption that have been brought against him. Malema and his four co-accused associates expect the court to set a date for their trial at this session.
The case against Malema and his co-accused was scheduled to be heard in another court building but that building was destroyed by fire months ago. Malema is accused of scheming with Kagisho Dichabe, Helen Moreroa, Makgetsi Manthata and Lesiba Gwangwa so that they could be awarded a substantial tender using fraudulent and unethical means. His associates were granted bail of R 40 000 each while Malema is currently out after he paid R 10 000 bail.
The specific charges against the group include fraud, corruption, racketeering and money-laundering. They are accused of using inaccurate and false information to apply for a tender from the Limpopo Roads and Transport Department. They were successful in their bid and the tender was awarded to their company, On-Point Engineering. The tender was valued at R 52 million and the department had already forked out R 43 million.
Julius Malema is said to have made almost R 4 million from the proceeds of this transaction. It is alleged that Malema used his share of the money to purchase a large farm and a luxury vehicle. The state has reason to believe that Malema was fully aware that he was spending money that had been acquired using illegal means.
South Africa has become accustomed to politicians paving a way for electoral success while at the same time, attending court on a range of charges. President Jacob Zuma became the president of South Africa amidst rape and corruption allegations. Julius Malema does not think his legal woes will affect how people respond to his new party, the Economic Freedom Fighters.