ANC: Malema should not water down charges
The ANC has called on its “expelled member” Julius Malema not to “water down” the seriousness of his charges by claiming political interference in his court case.
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu released a statement barely an hour after Malema told supporters outside court his charge of money laundering was “not so serious”.
But the Hawks earlier said money laundering was a serious offence carrying a sentence of 15 years.
Mthembu said anybody that suggests the abuse of state powers is trying to water down the implications inherent in the charges and prejudging the case.
He said Malema has “a right to defence” but his charges “will be tested in the court of law given their competency”.
Mthembu said the ANC wanted to state it “categorically” that neither the party nor President Jacob Zuma or any other leaders had a “role in the charges”.
He said: “The charges have been preferred by competent institutions that derive from our Constitution. As the ANC we want to put it on record that we have confidence in our state institutions to discharge their duties without any political motive.”
He called on all those who claimed to have evidence of the abuse of state power or law enforcement agencies to submit the evidence as part of Malema’s defence.
This came after the ANC’s Limpopo leadership and the ANC Youth League in statements this week claimed that Zuma and ministers from his security clusters were behind the charges.
Malema also this morning said the charges were brought as a “publicity stunt” to stop him.
“We want to appeal to our structures and to all South Africans to refrain from using inflammatory and unsubstantiated accusations against the ANC and the government agencies,” Mthembu said.
He said it would be a “fundamental insult to our law enforcement agencies including our courts who are totally independent of government to be accused of being political pawns in the hands of politicians”.
If there was state abuse, “the outcome of any case before the court will prove so”, he said.
Mthembu said the matter, which is currently before court, should not be prejudiced by making pronouncements outside it.
“The ANC believes that there is no one above the law and that the fight against crime and corruption must be intensified without fear or favour,” he said.
“Let’s allow the law to take its course and presume everyone appearing before the courts innocent until proven guilty.”
Malema was released on R10 000 bail in the Polokwane Magistrates’ Court this morning, and is due to appear again on November 30.