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Malema trial: Court to decide on whether to proceed

Legal teams from both sides have had time to consider their arguments in terms of how the case proceeds.

EFF leader Julius Malema jokes with the media ahead of his brief appearance in the Polokwane Magistrate's court on several charges including corruption and racketeering. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

POLOKWANE - The High Court sitting in Polokwane will decide today whether or not the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema's fraud and corruption trial will proceed.

The trial, which was set to get underway on Monday, was postponed as one of Malema's co-accused is in hospital.

The case relates to a 2009 tender awarded by the Limpopo Department of Roads and Transport to On Point Engineering, a company co-owned by Malema.

Legal teams from the state and the defence have had time to consider their arguments in terms of how the case proceeds.

The state wants Malema and his co-accused to stand trial together but Kagiso Dichaba was hospitalised last week and it's unclear when he will be available.

Malema meanwhile wants things to be expedited and said he's willing to be tried separately.

He said he wants his day in court.

"I'm not going to run away because I've never pretended to have wanted my day in court; I was genuinely looking for this day in court."

Malema told his supporters outside court that he wanted the matter to be concluded as there had been too many delays already.

"I do not want any postponement because I'm not scared. I know my conscience is clear; I have nothing to hide."

It's alleged that the EFF leader benefited from the R52 million tender payments to On Point Engineering, using the money to buy a farm and a vehicle.

MALEMA CHALLENGES NPA

Malema has challenged the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) not to oppose a separation of trials.

He's claiming that he never took any money and he's confident that he will win the case.

"I challenge the NPA not to oppose the separation of trials so that my trial can start tomorrow. Any form of sickness should never prevent me of having my day I court."

Malema said he wants to tell his side of the story.

"Let my side of the story be heard. The NPA has been trying to get postponements, including today, I do not agree [with that]."

Malema also told his supporters not to return to court, as this is a battle he needed to fight on his own and as they are needed in Parliament and on the ground to do their work and attract more voters.

A decision on the matter will be made today when proceedings resume.