AfriForum may have to declare Malema and the EFF bankrupt

The civil right organisation AfriForum may have to declare Julius Malema and the EFF bankrupt in an attempt to recover legal costs that Malema and the EFF owe to AfriForum. This follows the sheriff of the court only finding assets to the value of R66 550 in the EFF’s head office in Johannesburg on 9 November 2018. Malema also declared in public that he had no money to pay AfriForum. Malema and the EFF’s assets are therefore insufficient to pay off their debt to AfriForum.

AfriForum obtained a warrant in the Northern Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on 1 November 2018 to seize Malema and the EFF’s moving assets to pay off an amount of R337 758,68 that Malema in his personal capacity and the EFF as party owe to AfriForum. This amount is the total of three cost orders that AfriForum has obtained against them since March 2017. Malema and the EFF paid R126 703,59 to AfriForum in the past week, which means that the outstanding amount owed to AfriForum was then R211 055,09. However, after the Northern Gauteng High Court on 14 November 2018 granted another two cost orders against Malema and the EFF in AfriForum’s favour, Malema and the EFF’s outstanding debt to AfriForum is estimated to be more than R400 000.

According to Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, the organisation will this week meet with its legal team to decide on a strategy to recover the amount from Malema and the EFF. Kriel points out that AfriForum remains resolute in recovering the owed amount from Malema and the EFF – even it meant auctioning off of the EFF’s assets and declaring Malema and the EFF bankrupt.

“Although the EFF portrays itself as a strong party, the facts show that the party is dysfunctional and manages its finances and legal actions poorly,” Kriel says. According to Kriel, Malema and the EFF’s attempts to evade responsibility for their actions boomeranged, and with the granting of cost orders against them, they received a clear message that they are not above the law. Kriel adds that AfriForum will use the money recovered from Malema and the EFF to fight expropriation without compensation and landgrabs in court.

The money that Malema and the EFF owe to AfriForum stems from the case in which the Northern Gauteng High Court granted an interdict with cost in AfriForum’s favour on 7 March 2017. This interdict prohibits Malema and the EFF from encouraging people to occupy land illegally. Malema and the EFF then brought an application to set this interdict aside, which would have been heard on 12 September 2017. The Court had to postpone the case, after Malema and the EFF’s heads of argument had been submitted late. The judge subsequently issued a punitive cost order against Malema and the EFF. Their legal representatives failed to attend the court hearing in February this year, and the case was settled in AfriForum’s favour when the annulment application was rejected with cost.

After Malema and the EFF disregarded the court order of 7 March 2017 by continuing to encourage people to occupy land illegally, AfriForum brought a case of contempt of court against Malema and the EFF, which was to have commenced on 14 November 2018. However, Malema and the EFF’s legal team did not timeously submit their answering affidavit for opposing the case of contempt of court, which means that the case will have to be heard later. In this way, Malema and the EFF incurred yet another cost order. Malema and the EFF’s attempts to obtain an urgent court order on 14 November 2018 to prevent AfriForum from removing the EFF’s property and selling it at auction also failed. Judge Louw ruled that there was no urgency to the matter and therefore issued another cost order against Malema and the EFF.

According to Kriel, AfriForum’s legal team will now endeavour to bring the pending case of contempt of court as soon as possible to court.

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