NPA on Malema trial: It's not our fault
On Tuesday the Polokwane High Court struck the fraud and corruption trial from the roll.
JOHANNESBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has indicated it will only make a decision on whether to continue to pursue the fraud and corruption charges against EFF leader Julius Malema and two others after it has re-evaluated the evidence.
On Tuesday the Polokwane High Court struck the trial from the roll due to the absence of one of the co-accused Kagiso Dichaba, who was hospitalised last week.
Judge Billy Mothle said he did not want to postpone proceedings again, but that the case could not continue without Dichaba, and therefore the trial had been struck from the roll.
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.
This morning the NPA issued a statement indicating that it would request the investigating officer to monitor the medical condition of Dichaba and would re-evaluate the evidence before making a decision on the matter.
It has listed each and every postponement in the case since 2012, arguing that it's not to blame.
The NPA says Malema and the other accused filed several representations to have the charges against them dropped, which delayed the matter.
It says the relevant subsection of the Criminal Procedure Act empowers the court to strike a matter off the roll in circumstances where an accused has not pleaded to the charge(s) and where the court believes that there has been unreasonable delay in finalising the matter.
"In this regard, the delay was not attributable to the State."
It adds that the prosecution team, led by advocate Andrew Laka, prepared thoroughly for the trial and were ready to proceed on 3 August 2015.
"The prosecution had consulted extensively with witnesses who were ready and available."
But it was notified that one of the accused was in hospital with a 'stress related' illness only on Sunday night, hours before the trial was due to start.
After the trial was struck from the roll, the EFF leader said he was ready to answer to charges of fraud and corruption, but he insisted that the state 'messed up' its case.
WATCH: Julius Malema speaks out after the trial is struck from the roll
He said on Wednesday that if the state decided to reinstate charges, he was ready.
"If they want to bring it, let them bring it afresh. I am not scared of them, I'm ready for them."
"I would have wished to have an opportunity to answer to each and every allegation put before us, before a neutral court of law. Unfortunately, the State messed up its own case."
WATCH: Malema supporters rejoice after the case is struck from the roll.
While #EFF leader Julius #Malema breathed a sigh of relief after his #fraud and #corruption trial was struck off the roll in #Polokwane, no one expressed more excitement over the ruling than his #supporters outside court. #Malematrial
A video posted by Eyewitness News (@ewnupdates) on
Read the full NPA statement here.