Prepare for political sideshow of Malema, Shivambu

EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu and party leader Julius Malema
EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu and party leader Julius Malema
Image: Alon Skuy

There have been several reports over the past week of legal charges against Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu, and possibly against Quintin Ndlozi — the most prominent troika of EFF leaders.

These charges involve allegations of corruption, of violence, of firing an automatic firearm in public and of accepting funding for construction of one of Malema’s homes in Sandown, north of Johannesburg, among other allegations.

Several allegations have been doing the rounds for months.

This time it is different, though, especially in the case of Malema, as some of the allegations go back to his days in the ANC.

He was very much part of the ANC alliance’s leadership that sold off the state, so to speak.

For now we should, of course, let the law take its course.

It is, nonetheless, difficult to see either one of the troika of Malema, Ndlozi or Shivambu going to prison — whatever the allegations and charges or even prosecutions.

I suspect Shivambu may be exposed as a fraud sooner rather than later, and not just in his political or possibly corrupt dealings related to VBS Mutual Bank, but also his questionable academic work and presence so far.

We have already seen people on social media atwitter about how an “African” leader “dedicated to the liberation of Africans” was being hounded by a hostile media.

What this suggests, as written previously, is that alleged unlawful acts may be spun as political and part of a “noble cause”.

In this sense, the means is supposed to justify the ends.

Put another way, when students protest because of poor living conditions (which is their right and a just cause) burning down a university building is considered to be just means for a just cause (to improve living conditions).

Hence, people convicted of public violence during protests are deemed to be innocent or unnecessarily prejudiced, because the means (burning, looting and physical acts of violence) are justified.

So, dear reader, the next time the doctor gives you a painkiller, and the pain will not go away, burn down the hospital….

But seriously, what came out in the Sunday media reveals a litany of crimes that are astonishing.

Perhaps more astonishing is that these alleged crimes go back years, and the National

Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has reportedly chosen to ignore them.

Significantly, it was reported on Sunday, that a “never seen before” affidavit sets out in great detail “that Malema’s lifestyle was funded ... with money from Limpopo’s public coffers”.

We have to wait and see what comes of this.

Malema would, surely, call on the service of legal minds who are loyal to the EFF, which may turn any prosecutorial matter into a political farce — as discussed in this space a few weeks ago.

The “smaller” charges laid against the Troika last week should come before the courts, on charges of common assault on Thursday, when Shivambu is expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court next week for allegedly attacking a journalist in the parliamentary precinct in 2018.

Malema himself appeared in court last Wednesday in relation to him allegedly discharging a firearm at the EFF’s fifth-anniversary celebrations in Mdantsane in 2018.

In this case, Malema faces five counts‚ including the unlawful possession of a firearm‚ unlawful possession of ammunition‚ discharging a firearm in a built-up area or public place, and reckless endangerment to people or property.

The security officer, Adriaan Snyman, who allegedly handed Malema the firearm during the celebrations, has also been charged.

He faces two counts — failure to take reasonable precautions to avoid danger to person or property, and providing a firearm and ammunition to any person not allowed to possess it.

The case has been postponed to February 24 2020 for the state to provide the defence with docket contents and the video footage.

It is not inconceivable that Shivambu and Malema would get a slap on the wrist for these charges.

It may appear, then, that as with most of the corpulent cadres of the ruling alliance who are running scared of whatever (more) may come out of the Zondo Commission, the EFF, too, more especially Malema — from his days in the ANC — may have his day in court.

But the EFF seem to have within its camp a legal mind whom everyone is enamoured with and who has already started defending questionable characters, and using political sentiment and romanticism.

All things considered, there seems little chance of Malema serving any time in prison.

Shivambu’s intellectual credibility and posturing has yet to be revealed.

For now, they continue to operate as a paramilitary crypto-fascist group defined by the politics of revenge, retaliation and manipulating the emotions of their followers.

It is, nonetheless, difficult to see either one of the troika of Malema, Ndlozi or Shivambu going to prison — whatever the allegations and charges or even prosecutions.