AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit on 11 March 2022, in a letter to Adv. Shamila Batohi, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, requested that progress be made in the prosecution of Fikile Mbalula, the Minister of Transport, on charges of money laundering and corruption.
This follows after it came to light that there is possibly a conflict of interest in the National Prosecuting Authority relating to the money that Mbalula received to repay his debt to the infamous Dockrat-family.
Monique Taute, Head of Campaigns at AfriForum, in August 2019 laid criminal charges of money laundering and corruption against Mbalula (former Minister of Sport).
This was done because Sedgars Sport, a supplier of sport products, allegedly paid between R300 000 and R680 000 in 2017 for the Mbalula family’s trip to Dubai.
AfriForum requested the Public Protector (PP) in 2017 to investigate the trip, who subsequently found that Mbalula had violated the Constitution and other legislation in this regard. She further ordered the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to launch an investigation into whether the funds used to pay for the trip had been proceeds from money laundering or not.
“It has now been three years since these criminal charges were laid. The prosecution’s constant excuses that the investigation is still ongoing, can therefore no longer be accepted, especially since the PP’s report contains all the facts and even the names of the witnesses, as well as identifying the service provider,” says adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.
According to adv. Nel, the only inference that can be made from the inexplicable lack of progress in the matter, is that some people (in the words of George Orwell) are more equal than others and that the NPA is hesitant to act against a Cabinet Minister who is in the correct political camp.
“During the prosecution of Bathabile Dlamini, the former Minister of Social Development, the prosecutor said that society expects a certain standard of accountability from public servants and that the position she held as a minister was not a trivial one. We completely agree with this sentiment and implore the NPA to prosecute Mbalula with the same disposition and without fear, favour or prejudice. The inference that connections to certain political factions will provide protection from prosecution, has become clear. Should the NPA continue to fail to prosecute Mbalula, the Private Prosecution Unit will be forced to institute the legal remedies at their disposal to force the NPA to take a decision,” says adv. Nel.
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