NATIONAL NEWS - The police colonel who has accused EFF leader Julius Malema and party MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of assaulting him has had another bruising day on the stand, with his motivation for opening a case against the pair being brought into question, The Citizen reports.
However, another altercation during a break in the proceedings received significant attention on social media as Malema and Ndlozi were involved in an exchange of words with a man believed to be a member of the prosecution who was blocking their entry to the dock.
“You are blocking the entrance here with your long legs,” Malema said with Ndlozi adding: “You were, don’t say you are not, liar. Liar.”
‘The motive behind the charges’
Advocate Laurence Hodes SC – for Malema and Ndlozi – grilled Lieutenant-Colonel Johannes Venter on Afrikaans lobby group and vocal EFF critic AfriForum’s involvement in his case on Thursday, as proceedings got into their second day.
“You aligned yourself with AfriForum in this case?” Hodes asked Venter, who agreed.
Hodes then read into the record what AfriForum on its official website describes as its vision: “That Afrikaners – who know no other home – can continue living meaningfully as Afrikaners and in peaceful co-existence with other communities and permanently free, safe and prosperous at the southern tip of Africa”.
The advocate told the court this spoke to “the motive behind the charges”.
Hodes also read into the record the group’s vision: “AfriForum, as a trustworthy Afrikaner interest organisation and civil rights watchdog, which forms part of the Solidarity Movement, works to ensure that the basic prerequisites for the continued existence of Afrikaners are met by working outside the workplace on international, national and local level to manage the impact of and influence the current political realities that face Afrikaners, while working simultaneously to establish sustainable structures through which Afrikaners are able to ensure their own future independently”.
The case against Malema and Ndlozi relates to a scuffle they had with Venter – a high-ranking member of the Presidential Protection Services unit – at the entry to the Fourways Memorial Park during struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s burial in April 2018.
After a series of delays, their trial finally kicked off in the Randburg Magistrates Court on Wednesday when Venter was the first witness to be called. Venter in his evidence-in-chief told the court he had been tasked with access control that day and that the alleged assault was prompted by his refusal to allow Malema’s vehicle entry to the cemetery, in line with an instruction he had been given not to permit anyone other than the family or the President to drive in without permission.
But under cross-examination, Hodes has accused Venter of “manufacturing” testimony.
CCTV footage of the scuffle was played in court on Wednesday and again on Thursday, when Hodes pointed out various discrepancies in the version of events Venter had offered up and what the footage – according to Hodes at least – showed.
Taking a hammering
On Wednesday, Hodes kicked off his cross examination of Venter with questions around what had happened after the alleged assault.
Earlier in the day, Venter testified he had been tasked with access control that day and that he had refused Malema’s vehicle entry to the Fourways Memorial Park, in line with an instruction not to permit anyone other than the family or the President to drive their vehicles in without permission.
Hodes asked Venter if he had ever apologised to Malema.
He replied there was “no need”.
“I did my duties as expected,” he said, before Hodes interrupted him.
“No, you didn’t. If your duty was to prevent them from going in, you should have prevented them. If your duty was to allow them in because they were accredited, then you should have apologised for prohibiting them from going in,” he countered.
“This must be the most ineffective Presidential Protection Service I’ve ever heard of, it’s a joke,” Hodes said.