South African Court Charges Malema with Money Laundering

Posted September 26th, 2012 at 8:05 am (UTC-5)
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South African politician Julius Malema has appeared in court to face money laundering charges, which he and his supporters say are politically motivated.

The critic of President Jacob Zuma appeared Wednesday at the court in Polokwane after turning himself in to police.

Authorities issued an arrest warrant for Malema last Friday, and a large crowd of his supporters was outside the police station Wednesday following a night of vigils.

The charges are connected to an investigation into alleged corruption involving the award of government contracts in Malema's home district. Authorities say he used proceeds from the deals to help buy a farm and a luxury car.

Four of his associates appeared in court Tuesday on similar charges.

The former Youth League leader was expelled from the ruling African National Congress earlier this year for what the party called indiscipline.

Malema, who his known for fiery rhetoric, has encouraged a recent wave of mining strikes in South Africa and has told miners that they have been let down by Mr. Zuma and the ANC.

He also stirred controversy in recent years for several remarks, including endorsing the policies of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, insulting a BBC journalist and repeatedly singing a song that includes the words “Kill the Boer.” Boer is a term for a white South African farmer.