- The assault trial against Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has kicked off on Wednesday
- Both EFF officials have pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting a police officer at the funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
- The trial has kicked off under immense security measures in the Randburg Magistrate's Court
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Economic Freedom Fighters Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi are on trial on Wednesday for charges of assaulting a police official.
The first witness to be called by the state is the officer who pressed charges against the Red Beret duo, Colonel Johan Venter.
Both Malema and Ndlozi have pleaded not guilty to the charge of common assault for the incident which took place at the funeral of the late struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Venter, a veteran officer with 36 years of service with the SAPS, currently works for the Presidential Protection Unit and had been stationed at the main gate of the cemetery on the day of the funeral.
Venter explained that his instructions were to only allow the immediate family members to enter the cemetery in addition to the President himself.
The rest of the mourners would be allowed to follow proceedings at the stadium where screens had been erected.
However, Malema's vehicle allegedly drove into the cemetery despite not being given permission by any of the police officials to enter.
At this point, Venter alleges that Malema had told him no white man would prevent him from attending the event and the alleged assault then ensued:
"I was pushed so hard that I lost my balance. I was pushed so hard that I fell against the guardhouse. "
According to Venter, Malema's vehicle didn't have any visible permit to enter the cemetery:
"The accused was allowed to enter the cemetery as they had a permit but the vehicle didn’t have a visible permit. If it did, I would have also stopped it because it was not part of the convoy and the convoy was already inside."
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that Malema is adamant that Johannes Venter shouldn't be allowed to take to the witness stand without the media because that is how the EFF officials will be expected to testify:
“They [court proceedings] must all be covered, we want to make them famous, everybody must be covered here. It’s not only us who must be covered here, the magistrate can’t say no today we’re proceeding because it’s a white man who gives evidence without cameras.”
Malema questioned why a police officer had elected to press assault charges against him, commenting that:
"Police get pushed everyday, if they open cases there will be no dockets. As an officer of the law you will get into difficult situations and use Ubuntu to be able to diffuse the situation. They don’t know Ubuntu because it has no definition in their language, that’s why they mistreat us."
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