DA contemplates appealing dropping of bribery charges against ANC leader in KZN
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ANC regional secretary Zakhele Buthelezi and party chief whip Maria Mabaso allegedly tried to bribe a DA councillor
DURBAN - The Democratic Alliance in KZN is considering challenging the Richards Bay Commercial Crimes Court’s decision to withdraw bribery charges, against two ANC councillors from the AbaQulusi municipality in Vryheid.
ANC regional secretary Zakhele Buthelezi and the party chief whip Maria Mabaso were arrested in a sting operation by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI-Hawks), for allegedly trying to bribe a DA Councillor to abstain from voting during a motion of no confidence in the council against the IFP speaker and mayor.
The secretary and the chief whip were arrested in 2018. Charges were withdrawn last year after the court said there was insufficient evidence, and duo were reinstated in June.
But the DA did not let up and the case was subsequently reopened but the case was withdrawn last week after dragging on for more than three years.
In a statement on Tuesday, DA provincial leader Francois Rodgers said his party was disturbed by the withdrawal of charges. He said the party was currently engaging with its national spokesperson on justice, Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach.
He said the party had all the evidence and claimed that political influence was at play when it came to justice being served.
“The DA will not let up on this matter and will continue to fight for justice. The DA will continue to fight for a corruption-free government. The facts speak for themselves as the DA had approached the Hawks when councillor Magda Victor was first approached by the ANC with an offer of R50 000 to abstain in the vote. The Hawks were part of a sting operation that recorded the entire transaction and the exchange of money. The evidence is imperial and cannot be refuted,” said Rodgers.
He said the withdrawal of the case was bizarre and that this was the second time that the process had been sabotaged. Rogers said on the first occasion, the NPA had dropped the case and it was only through pressure from the DA that the case was reopened.
ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said the NPA had taken a decision to withdraw charges because there was no evidence. He said it was not an ANC problem.
Buthelezi told Daily News on Tuesday that although he was happy that they were vindicated he was still aggrieved at being arrested.
KwaZulu-Natal Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said he would liaise with the investigators and get clarity on what actually happened in court.