As expected, Julius Malema’s return to the courtroom has given us plenty of drama and intrigue. The EFF leader is fighting an assault charge that was levelled against him in 2018, following an altercation at Winnie Mandela’s funeral. The testimony of a state witness has been subject to a ferocious line of questioning – putting the prosecution on the ropes.

Latest from the Julius Malema assault case

Deon Kingbell was the manager of the Fourways Memorial Cemetery in 2018 during the funeral of the late struggle icon. Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi’s legal representative – Advocate Laurence Hodes – questioned Kingbell through an interpreter, asking why he didn’t tell police that he had ‘personal copies’ of crucial CCTV evidence.

The official gave some perplexing testimony about his decision to delete hard copies of the incident, which allegedly saw both Malema and Ndlozi rough-up Colonel Johannes Venter. Kingbell states that he initially failed to ask the company who provided the facility’s CCTV cameras for ‘extra footage’ of the scuffle. His memory was also called into doubt.

State witness grilled on Tuesday

“I personally deleted it, because it contained sensitive information and I didn’t want anyone else downloading it. Yes, I deleted footage from the hard drive – but I still have a soft copy at home. I have between three to seven soft copies at home. The police asked me on different occasions for the material. I also gave it to the court.”

“The footage originally came from the CCTV system. I remember the part that I said I don’t have it. But my memory cannot remember if I said something related to the CCTV company. I don’t dispute [asking the company for the footage] at all. I just don’t remember it. I never followed up to find the extra footage, because I was asked too late after the incident.”

Deon Kingbell

Julius Malema, secret footage, and CCTV errors

The witness was given a hard time from Hodes, who zeroed in on Kingbell’s patchy recollection of the CCTV recovery process. Malema’s advocate also argued that the guard has contradicted himself on numerous occasions, after it was revealed the cemetery manager ‘kept secret copies’ of the assault – in case they were needed elsewhere.

  • Proceedings will continue throughout Tuesday

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Presh JM Reporter

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