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Malatsi appeal dismissed

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INLSA

File picture - David Malatsi leaving the Bellville Magistrates Court after being found guilty on corruption charges in the Roodefontein fraud case involving him and Peter Marais who was acquitted. Pic: Ian Landsberg.

Cape Town - Former politician David Malatsi will serve five years in jail for corruption after an appeal against his conviction and sentencing failed on Tuesday.

Western Cape High Court Judge Patrick Gamble took less than a minute to read out the appeal judgment, stating only that the “appeal is dismissed and the conviction is confirmed”.

The former provincial environmental affairs MEC and national deputy social development minister was not present in court when judgment was handed down.

His lawyers were not immediately available to comment on where he was and when he would hand himself over to correctional services officials.

In October 2006, the Cape Town regional court found Malatsi guilty of corruption after he accepted a R100 000 payment from the developer of Roodefontein Golf and Country Estate to approve the development, despite clear environmental concerns and procedures.

The money was given to him in April 2002 by Count Riccardo Augusto, the owner and developer of the R550 million Plettenberg Bay project.

Malatsi was sentenced in December 2006 to five years in jail and at the same time, granted leave to appeal.

He was granted bail pending the outcome of the appeal.

His appeal came before Gamble and Judge Elizabeth Baartman in August this year, where his lawyer said he accepted the money in his fund-raising capacity as a New National Party (NNP) member and it played no part in the ultimate decision to approve the development.

In his judgment, Gamble said this was hard to believe.

“It is inconceivable that a person in the position of the appellant could not have realised, given the crucial timing of the handing over of the cheque, that he was expected to bring his side of the bargain to the table and to facilitate the passing of the necessary statutory approvals in exchange for the handsome contribution to his party.”

He said Malatsi, as an experienced public office bearer, should have known he had to observe fairness and impartiality in his dealings with the public and with provincial departments.

Sapa


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