Former Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) deputy director-general Siphokazi Ndudane has, through her lawyer, described the charges against her as part of a “malicious prosecution for taking a stand against criminality”.
She has now written to the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) to drop the two counts of Contravening section 34 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PRECCA), 2004 (Act 12 of 2004).
This relates to her alleged failure to report fraud.
The Cape Times has seen a letter penned to former DAFF director-general Mike Mlengana, in January 2018, where he is informed of alleged crimes that Ndudane reported and which were subject to an investigation.
She has maintained her innocence and handed herself over to the police after being informed of a warrant for her arrest.
In their letter to the NDPP, B Xulu and Partners Incorporated (BXI), who are representing Ndudane – currently out on R100 000 bail – said that when Ndudane made her bail application, she was described as a flight risk.
This, despite having handed herself over to the police.
“We have been informed by our client that the initial agreement between her previous legal representatives and the Public Prosecutor was that the bail amount would be fixed at R10 000.
A few moments later, this was increased unilaterally by the State to R50 000.
“When addressing the court, the State shockingly submitted that the bail amount be fixed at R100 000 as the State argued that our client’s address could not be confirmed, and that she was a flight risk.
This is despite the fact that our client had travelled from the Eastern Cape to surrender herself to be arrested, and is a well-known senior civil servant whose information could easily be verified for bail purposes.
Our client was asked to hand in her passport which she had delivered from her home in the Eastern Cape, and is now in a position where she is (not) able to travel for work related purposes,” said BXI in a letter penned to all parties.
They have also called on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to investigate the motive behind her arrest, arguing that the charges Ndudane faced were “improperly before the court”.
“Section 27 requires the written authorisation to be given after the person concerned has been given a reasonable opportunity to offer an explanation in respect of the various situations set out in that section.
She was never afforded such an opportunity, and contends that the written authorisation by the DPP is, therefore, invalid. The State took a conscious decision not to comply with the peremptory provisions of section 27, accordingly the two main counts relating to the contravention of PRECCA are improperly before the court.
“Our client has practised active public stewardship, and gone beyond the call of what was required of someone in her position in order to root out corruption at DAFF and has paid a hefty price as a result,” the letter stated.
Responding to the demands in the letter by BXI, Hawks spokesperson Zinzi Hani said: “We don’t respond to what defence is saying outside court processes and we do not have any comment except to say the case on court roll waiting for the next appearance.”
Ipid spokesperson Robbie Raburabu said: “Ipid is not aware of the incident and the allegations mentioned are not within its mandate to warrant its investigation.”
Enquiries to NDPP were not answered by deadline on Tuesday.