NEWS & ANALYSIS

Court strikes ANC Councillors’ bribery case off the role – Zwakele Mncwango

DA KZN leader seeking legal option, says there were evidence of wrongdoing

DA seeking legal opinion after court strikes ANC Councillors’ bribery case off the role despite glaring evidence of wrongdoing

15 October 2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal has approached our lawyers to seek a legal opinion on possibly appealing a decision to strike off the roll the case against ANC Councillors who were caught red-handed in 2018 trying to bribe a DA Councillor in AbaQulusi Local Municipality.

The DA has learned with shock that the matter was struck off the roll the Vryheid Magistrates Court last week. The decision was supposedly based on technicalities and the failure of the State to provide the relevant information for the case to proceed.

In December 2018, ANC Councillors in AbaQulusi, NtombiyephahlaMdlalose and Maria Mabaso, as well as the Regional Secretary for Mzala Nxumalo Region, Zakhele Buthelezi, faced charges of bribery and corruption after the trio was caught red-handed by the Hawks for attempting to pay an R20 000 bribe to a DA Councillor, Magda Viktor.  This was in an attempt to get the Councillor to support the ANC who wished to bring a vote of no confidence against an IFP Speaker in AbaQulusi.

We are deeply disappointed by the apparent incompetence that has been displayed in this case by those entrusted to guard our justice system.

It is reported that the Prosecutor, after 2 years working on this case, decided to recuse himself because he is a neighbour of one of the accused. It is also alleged that the State could not provide critical information that was required for the case to continue, leading to it being dismissed.

The case was, therefore, not thrown out because it has no basis but due to the lack of work ethic from the State.
It would appear that this was an intentional and carefully planned strategy to ensure that this issue disappears and that the culprits of such a grossly crime walk free. We also cannot rule out another possible ANC bribery tactic.

This phenomenon is not unusual in our legal system, we have seen many high profile cases where the accused gets arrested, but the cases continue to be delayed because the State fails to come forward with evidence. This points to the complete failure of our justice system.

Reports further indicate that the Judge presiding over the matter, could not share with the National Prosecuting Authority details as to why the case had been struck off the roll. The DA will request the court’s decision in writing.

How can we fight corruption if the justice system itself is failing us even where there is the hard evidence? In this case, the Hawks were involved from the beginning and the perpetrators were caught red-handed committing a crime. There‘s even CCTV footage of the incident. Even more alarming is the fact that the DA Councillor, who the ANC was attempting to bribe, was not once asked to testify or provide any evidence. She had to personally ask the court about the proceedings of the case.

The ANC is working hard to turn our country into a lawless banana republic but the justice system cannot become complicit in this.
The DA will simply not turn a blind eye to the questionable circumstances under which this case was thrown out. It is for this reason that we have started exploring and talking to our legal teams to determine our available options to appeal this judgement, we want to ensure that justice prevails.

The ANC has time and again proven that they will never rid of corruption, the only way to end this lawlessness is punishing them out at the polls.

Issued by Zwakele Mncwango, DA KZN Leader, 15 October 2020