JOHANNESBURG — The Randburg Magistrate’s Court ruled on Thursday that Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and party Commissar Mbuyiseni Ndlozi were not guilty of the joint assault.
The Randburg District Court found that while Malema and Ndlozi’s actions appeared prima facie to be unlawful, the justification defense stood.
Judge Lieland Poonsamy ruled in the favour of the duo: “The court finds the defendant’s version to be reasonably true. Therefore, I accept that the defense of justification succeeds and that, on the basis of the evidence, the defendant did not intend to attack the plaintiff.”
The duo were filmed getting into an altercation with Lt. Col. Johannes Venter in April 2018 at Fourways Cemetery during Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral.
Ndlozi and Malema pleaded not guilty.
During the trial, Venter claimed that Malema and Ndlozi pushed him so hard that he lost his balance. CCTV footage of the incident was widely shared in the media and on the internet.
However, Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi denied attacking Venter.
They claimed that Venter tried to prevent them from entering Fourways Cemetery and that they acted in self-defense.
One of the issues highlighted by the judge on Thursday was an attempt by Malema and Ndlozi to make amends with Venter out of court, as well as his refusal to accept the gesture, which was backed by AfriForum.
A defense motion to remove the case from the court docket was denied in June.
AfriForum’s private prosecutor’s office had written to the national prosecutor’s office before Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and Malema were formally charged.
- Editor/ additional report by EWN