CAPE TOWN - The Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) remained tight-lipped about the investigation involving Eastern Cape premier and re-elected ANC Eastern Cape chairperson Oscar Mabuyane and provincial MEC for public works Babalo Madikizela over missing funds meant to ferry mourners to Struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s memorial services.
While Mabuyane and Madikizela were both vying for the position of ANC Eastern Cape chairperson at the weekend, the two vowed to challenge the entire report in court.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane made damning findings in a report published in October last year that they had irregularly benefited from a R1.1 million tender meant for Madikizela-Mandela’s memorial service.
She said Mabuyane had personally benefited to the tune of R450 000, and those funds were used to renovate his home, while Madikizela personally benefited to the tune of R350 000. Those funds went into an FNB account for a private company owned by his wife as set out in evidence, read the report.
The ANC had additionally benefited to the tune of R280 000 from the amount of R1.1m which were certainly public funds that went into its FNB fund-raising account, according to the report.
“The financial benefits that accrued to Mr Mabuyane, Mr Madikizela and the ANC raise a suspicion of a commission of criminal conduct in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998 and/or Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004. Accordingly, this aspect has been referred to the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI) for criminal investigation,” read the report.
Approached for comment on Tuesday, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Thandi Mbambo said the matter was submitted by the Hawks to the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit for a prosecutor-guided investigation (PGI).
She said the matter was “still under PGI” and would not comment further after being asked why the matter has not been prioritised or shown any movement in five months.
Mbambo said she was “not at liberty” to respond further.
Director of Public Prosecutions spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said the matter was referred back to the Hawks with queries
Mabuyane said: “The matter remains in court and interdicted. As soon as the parties are ready to argue the merits, you will know,” he said.
Madikizela said he was reviewing the entire report, arguing that he wants it to be set aside.
Socio-economic commentator Dr Bhasela Yalezo said: “At this stage there is no compelling evidence in relation to findings and remedies by the public protector and it’s sub judice for now.
“But it’s still a strong perception in the public that paints a dim picture about their character. The fundamental point about this issue is that it still perpetuates a strong lack of trust about both of them and the ANC as whole. It does not allay fears that taxpayers’ money is in safe hands if one assesses them closely.