Malema accuses Zuma of plotting against him

Expelled ANC youth leader claims trial being delayed to stop him forming new party

Expelled African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema: accused of corrupt and fraudulent activities linked to government contracts.    Photograph: Denis Farrell/AP

Expelled African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema: accused of corrupt and fraudulent activities linked to government contracts. Photograph: Denis Farrell/AP

Fri, Jun 21, 2013, 01:00

Expelled ANC youth leader Julius Malema has accused his former boss, South African president Jacob Zuma, of trying to delay his corruption trial to undermine his attempts at forming a new political party. Mr Malema, who was expelled from the ANC early last year, made his accusation during a hearing at Pretoria Magistrates Court connected to his corruption trial.

He is accused of making nearly R4 million (€300,000) from corrupt and fraudulent activities linked to government contracts acquired by On-Point Engineering, a company allegedly linked to him, in his home province of Limpopo.

The court was expected to transfer the matter to the high court yesterday and set a date for the trial, but the state applied for an adjournment.

During the hearing Mr Malema argued the state was delaying on purpose to financially drain and politically neutralise him. This was being done, he said, to undermine his efforts to launch a new party called the Economic Freedom Fighters, which intends to contest national elections next year.

“It becomes impossible to convince people to join the party,” he told the court. “President Zuma has done everything to make sure that I lost everything and block whoever is linked with Malema.”

He said the longer the case was delayed, the harder it would be to find financial backers to get his new party off the ground. “I have nothing left. Without a verdict or not, I am left with nothing,” he said, referring to assets taken by the state to cover unpaid taxes.

The hearing was postponed to today, when the magistrate is expected to make a decision.

Mr Malema was one of Mr Zuma’s strongest supporters in 2008, but he turned against the ANC leader as the years passed, a choice that is widely believed to have led to his down fall within the ruling party.