DURBAN - ZULULAND ANC regional secretary Zakhele Buthelezi said he would step aside after receiving formal charges.
Buthelezi and two party councillors in the Abaqulusi Municipality are due to appear in Vryheid Magistrate’s Court on June 28 to face fresh charges of bribery after the Hawks reinstated their charges.
Buthelezi, ANC chief whip Maria Mabaso and councillor Khosikhona Mdlalose were arrested in 2018 after they were allegedly caught red-handed paying R20 000 to DA councillor Magda Viktor to vote with the ANC in its attempt to oust the IFP from power through a motion of no confidence.
The charges were provisionally withdrawn last year after the court ruled the case lacked evidence.
They were allegedly set up by Viktor, who informed the Hawks that the three were coming to pay her a bribe.
Hawks officers set up a sting operation and pounced on the three officials while they were allegedly counting the money to hand over to the DA councillor.
Hawks provincial spokesperson Captain Siphiwe Mhlongo confirmed that the three officials’ charges had been reinstated.
He said summons had been issued for them to appear in court, but he declined to discuss the new information that led to the Hawks reviving the charges. He said the State would explain that in court.
Buthelezi told the Daily News on Sunday that he would step aside after being formally charged. He said he had no idea why the case was revived.
“Yes, I will step aside. I will be guided by the ANC on that. I can’t go against the ANC decision,” said Buthelezi.
Former DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said the party was happy that the charges were reinstated.
He said the party learnt that the prosecutor had to recuse himself because he was the neighbour of one of the accused.
Mncwango blamed the prosecutor for the removal of the case from the roll. “We did not understand why a prosecutor would stay on the case for over two years and then decide to recuse himself at the last minute.
“He always knew he was a neighbour of the accused and we did not understand what that had to do with the case.
“I always knew there was enough evidence because I was involved in setting a trap from the beginning. I was working with our councillor to get the people arrested,” said Mncwango.
Buthelezi would be the second senior leader in the province to be affected by the step-aside rule after provincial deputy chairperson Mike Mabuyakhulu, who voluntarily left office in honour of the rule that bars party members from representing it while facing criminal charges.