The hosts threatened from the start with Maleka forcing Stars’ keeper Wayne Sandilands into a brilliant save to deny the striker from hitting the back of the net from close range.
However, there was not much Sandilands could do in the 16th minute, when Maleka capitalised on the visitors’ failure to clear a cross and the former dynamos hitman curled the loose ball into the far corner.
Belux Kasongo went close to doubling Usuthu’s lead on the half hour, but his low shot was blocked by the Stars defence.
The score remained 1-0 at the break.
Stars threatened first in the second stanza and should have leveled matters in the 57th minute when George Mofokeng rose unmarked to head wide from close range. The defender was less than six yards away from goal and should have done better.
Koketso Mmotong also wasted a glorious opportunity in the 74th minute when he found himself clear on goal, with just AmaZulu keeper Tshepo Motsoeneng to beat, but the midfielder’s shot from close range was a tame one.
The hosts almost doubled their lead two minutes later when Maleka pounced onto a pass on the edge of the Stars’ area, but his shot flew narrowly past the far post.
Platinum failed to create any further chances after that, with AmaZulu superb in defence, and thoroughly deserved the win.