Media barred from Malema trial

FILE: Julius Malema appears in the Polokwane Magistrates Court on 20 June 2013. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

POLOKWANE - The media has apparently been barred from covering Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s corruption trial in the Polokwane High Court.

Malema and four of his business associates are facing charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering in connection with tender irregularities.

Court proceedings are expected to get underway shortly but security guards and the court manager told the media they aren’t allowed in court today.

No specific reason has been given.

Journalists have been trying to get hold of the judge to clarify this.

Meanwhile, Malema is currently writing a Unisa economics exam.

It’s unclear when he will be finished but is expected to arrive at court later.

Meanwhile, dozens of EFF members have started gathering outside the court wearing trademark red berets.

A stage has also been erected for demonstrators but there is a heavy police presence monitoring them and they have warned the crowd they will not tolerate lawlessness.

Police have already indicated that roads around the court will be closed off for safety reasons. 

The trial is set down for two weeks.

More than 60 witnesses are expected to be called by the state although there may not be enough time to hear testimony from all of them. 

Witnesses include officials from the Limpopo government.

(Edited by Gia Kaplan)