JOHANNESBURG, Feb 28 – A South African court on Friday cleared firebrand opposition politician Julius Malema of reckless driving charges after his arrest last year for speeding.
The court found Malema not guilty after the prosecution failed to prove that the device used to record Malema’s speed was in good working condition, SAPA news agency said.
Malema had been accused of speeding after he was caught late last year driving 215 kilometres (134 miles) an hour in an area with a speed limit of 120 kilometres per hour.
Earlier on Friday, police said assault and damage to property charges in a separate driving-related case against the rabble-rousing politician had been dropped.
“The complainant decided to drop the case,” said police spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi, adding that no reason was given for the move.
Malema was allegedly involved in a road rage incident late on Tuesday with a man who complained about how the politician was driving his S-Class Mercedes Benz.
During the alleged altercation three men got out of Malema’s car to grab the man, then Malema himself was said to have got out and slapped the man in the face.
Police have now handed the case to the country’s prosecution authority for formal closure.
Malema also faces charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering for allegedly arranging lucrative government contracts for cronies in return for kickbacks while he was still a member of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
A court declared him provisionally insolvent earlier this month after he failed to submit tax returns between 2006 and 2010.
A one-time staunch supporter of President Jacob Zuma, Malema has maintained that his prosecution is a political ploy to silence his criticism of Zuma’s leadership.
His new left-leaning party the Economic Freedom Fighters will contest their first national elections on May 7.