JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — An arrest warrant was issued Friday for Julius Malema, the rabble-rousing former African National Congress youth leader, on charges of money laundering, corruption and fraud, according to a South African newspaper.
City Press reported that Malema was due to appear in a Pretoria or Polokwane court next week, but said it remained unclear whether he would be jailed before his court appearance.
While police have not directly confirmed or denied the report, City Press quoted Malema's lawyer as saying she had received confirmation from authorities of an arrest warrant for her client.
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Malema was expelled from the ruling ANC party earlier this year after being found guilty of "sowing divisions" and “bringing the ANC into disrepute" by calling for Botswana's democratically elected president to be overthrown, among other factors.
While Malema and the ANC youth league's support was instrumental in bringing South African President Jacob Zuma to power in 2007, the two have since fallen out and are now arch enemies. Tensions have been ratcheted up ahead of a crucial ANC leadership congress in December, where Zuma will seek a second term.
Recently Malema, nicknamed "Juju," has sought to gain political capital from public anger over last month's deaths of workers at the Lonmin-owned Marikana mine.
An outspoken proponent of nationalization of the country's mining industry, he embarked on a whistle-stop tour of gold and platinum mines, speaking to workers and calling for a national strike.
South Africa's military bases went on high alert when Malema met with a small group of disgruntled soldiers near a base south of Johannesburg earlier this month.
According to City Press, the arrest warrant is linked to his Ratanang Family Trust and its share holding in On-Point Engineering, a company that has allegedly made millions from government contracts in Malema's home province of Limpopo.
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