Malema to appear in court Wednesday: lawyer

September 25, 2012 12:09 pm
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A picture taken on February 10, 2012 shows Julius Malema during a meeting in Pretoria/AFP
JOHANNESBURG, Sep 25 – South African firebrand Julius Malema will voluntarily appear in court on Wednesday, his lawyer said, paving the way for a high-profile and politically charged trial.

The country’s special police issued an arrest warrant for Malema on Friday, after he had called for miners to make the country’s crucial sector “ungovernable.” Local media said he would face corruption charges.

“By arrangement with the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) Mr Malema will appear in the Polokwane Regional Court on Wednesday,” Malema lawyer Nicqui Galaktiou said in a statement on Tuesday.

Galaktiou could not confirm reports the charges involved corruption in government tenders, saying she had not seen the charge sheet or a detailed arrest warrant.

Malema has used the ongoing mining strikes, which have led to dozens of deaths, to attack his enemies within the ruling African National Congress.

The former ANC Youth League leader, who was recently expelled from the ANC, has called for the removal of President Jacob Zuma as party boss, as potential candidates jockey for position ahead of a leadership election in December.

The party booted the rabble-rouser in April for ill-discipline and after he was convicted of hate speech in a civil case last year.

Further compounding Malema’s woes, he is also the subject of a separate tax probe and the country’s revenue service told AFP on Tuesday it had been granted an order to recover back taxes Malema allegedly owes.

The authority said Malema owed at least “16 million rand ($2 million, 1.5 million euros),” spokeswoman Marika Muller said.

The authority said Malema owed at least “16 million rand ($2 million, 1.5 million euros),” spokeswoman Marika Muller said.

Malema’s court appearance was not related to tax evasion, she added.

The Youth League, which contests Malema’s expulsion, condemned the “use of state resources to settle political scores” against Malema.

“The fact that even some ministers intimated knowledge of the charges points to political interference in the administration of justice and it must be condemned,” the League said.

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