The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has failed to meet the deadline for its decision on whether it will prosecute EFF leader Julius Malema for an old matter relating to a contract with On-Point Engineering.

The NPA initially said it would make a decision on or before 18 August.

But NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku told News24 on Wednesday that the Hawks were still investigating the matter.

“We said we will make [a] decision before [the] end of August and after assessing the evidence, the prosecutors gave further direction for further investigation,” Mfaku added.

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Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed that the matter was being investigated.

“Investigations will be finalised soon,” he added.

AfriForum advocate Gerrie Nel announced in April that Malema and his co-accused would be privately prosecuted for fraud and corruption should the NPA not heed the organisation’s demand that the case be reinstated after it was struck off the roll in 2015.

Malema initially faced those charges in relation to a R52 million contract awarded to On-Point Engineering.

The state previously alleged that Malema substantially benefited from the tender payment to On-Point, using it to buy a farm and a Mercedes-Benz.

It said Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust was an indirect shareholder in On-Point.

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The case was struck off the roll after one of his co-accused fell ill and the case dragged on.

News24 reported in April that former National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams criticised the decision by AfriForum to publicly announce that it intended to privately prosecute Malema.

Abrahams told MPs while delivering the NPA’s annual performance plan and budget proposal, that “it was opportunistic of this NGO to go public”.

Abrahams added that a request for a nolle prosequi certificate (which is necessary for a private prosecution) from AfriForum was received and said his office was aware of it.

He said had not provided his signature and had assigned Malema’s case to a new team of prosecutors who continued to interview witnesses.

AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel told News24 that the NPA wrote to the organisation in August asking for a postponement.

“They indicated they are looking at the matter. We want the wheels of justice to turn faster. We will grant them the postponement for them to prepare [and] if they decide not to prosecute then we will continue with private prosecution,” he said.

– News24