Julius Malema has dared civil rights organisation AfriForum to prosecute him, saying that the “poor masses” will decide his destiny, not “bloody racists”.
AfriForum seeks to pursue a private prosecution of the Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader because his family trust allegedly benefited from the irregular awarding of a R52-million tender to On Point Engineering by the Limpopo government.
Speaking at a media briefing in Centurion on Thursday, AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel and head of AfriForum’s private prosecuting unit advocate Gerrie Nel said their organisation sought to prosecute Malema on charges of fraud and corruption.
The pair stated that since the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had chosen not to pursue the prosecution following the corruption and racketeering charges against Malema and his two co-accused being struck off the roll in 2015, because of one of the accused being ill, AfriForum had taken it upon itself to see that justice is served.
NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku had indicated at the time that: “This is not an acquittal; it is not a verdict as the judge stipulated. The matter was just struck off the roll … possibilities are that the directorate of public prosecutions with jurisdiction can be approached to issue a certificate to reinstate the matter.”
Nel explained that, after consultation with the NPA and expressing to them that AfriForum wanted to pursue a private prosecution of the matter, “the NPA requested that we give them until August this year for them to decide whether they will pursue the matter.”
The tender was awarded in 2009 by the Limpopo government to On Point Engineering to assist the province’s department of transport.
Part of the company’s duties was to assist in allocating tenders, but it was later accused of receiving huge kickbacks from the companies that received these tenders.
The Ratanang Family Trust, founded by Malema, who was then ANC Youth League leader, holds shares in On Point Engineering, which administered a large part of the multibillion-rand budget of Limpopo’s roads and transport department.
In 2012 then public protector Thuli Madonsela found that Malema had improperly benefited from the R52 million tender.
Malema took to social media platform Twitter while AfriForum was briefing the media to say: “Bring it on bloody racists, you don’t scare me at all. I’m born ready. No white man will decide my destiny; the poor masses of our people will.”
When he was alerted of the tweet by a journalist at the briefing, Nel responded: “We have dealt with other matters were the accused have also expressed that they were ready for us but when the matter finally got its day in court, they were not as eager.
“I will not get into a personal battle with Malema just as I have never gotten into one with anyone I have prosecuted before,” concluded Nel.
Nel also explained that, by holding a press conference, AfriForum sought to put public pressure on the NPA to either reinstate the charges or to allow his organisation to pursue a private prosecution.