The police officer who accused Economic Freedom Fighters’ Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of assault has told the Randburg Magistrate’s Court that he did his “duties as expected” when he prevented the pair from entering Winnie Mandela’s funeral ceremony.
In a live ENCA broadcast of proceedings on Wednesday, Colonel Johan Venter told the court the vehicle transporting Malema and Mbuyiseni was not accredited to enter the ceremony in April 2018.
Venter – who is the first witness to take the stand – said he had been stationed at the funeral ceremony’s entrance to ensure only cars with accreditation were allowed in. Replying to State prosecutor Michelle Hart, Venter explained that he prevented the vehicle from entering because it did not have a visible permit. The men then got out of the car and the scuffle ensued.
“If Malema was part of the family he would have driven in the vehicle with them or would have been part of the family convoy,” Venter said.
Outside the court, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu told supporters Madikizela-Mandela’s family had written an affidavit to say that Malema is part of the family and was supposed to bury her.
Venter went on to tell the court he could not remember everything about the incident on the night he made his statement to police, but recounted the events the following day.
He could not initially tell who pushed him, but the second time he clearly identified Malema and Ndlozi. He said, “In the second push I saw they pushed me so hard that I lost my balance.”
Venter told the court he did not do anything to provoke the accused or retaliate. The incident was reportedly caught on closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
Venter laid a case at the Douglasdale Police Station, but the docket was allegedly lost before AfriForum’s private prosecution approached the court with an application to prosecute the pair.
Last year, Malema blamed AfriForum for the case, saying it was the reason he and Ndlozi had to appear in court.
Shivambu said: “There is a political attempt by a racist organisation called AfriForum to get our commander-in-chief and president convicted for nothing.”
Meanwhile, Head of AfriForum campaigns Monique Taute told reports, “AfriForum and its private prosecution unit will continue to monitor the case in the interest of justice. Nobody is above the law.”
She said AfriForum welcomes the fact that Malema finally got his day in court.