Durban - A previously under-reported ruling of the Durban High Court in the Mike Mabuyakhulu corruption case reveals how the ANC KwaZulu-Natal heavyweight scored his victory towards the end of last month.
The full ruling of the Durban High Court which was obtained by IOL on Wednesday shows how he justified the R300,000 payment referenced “Ndiyema” and how the State failed to prove its case.
Mabuyakhulu told the court that he had a South African Revenue Service (Sars) debt and he asked the late businessman, Mzamo Xaba to loan him some money to settle it.
Xaba then asked Ceaser Mkhize of Soft Skills Communications not to pay him back money he owed him, instead, to send it to Mabuyakhulu.
Soft Skills was one of the companies that were charged in the high profile case, and so was Mkhize.
The State had charged Mabuyakhulu, alleging that Mkhize paid the money to Mabuyakhulu as part of his bribe for helping to approve the R28 million for the North Sea Jazz Festival that never took place, after getting money from the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs which Mabuyakhulu led back then.
“He explained further that he had a substantial income tax debt due to the South African Revenue Service (Sars) in 2012 and he received a final demand on 27 January 2012.
“On 14 November 2012 Sars issued a final notice to accused 16 (Mabuyakhulu) to pay his outstanding tax debt of R839,760 within two days, failing which it will obtain judgment against him.
“This notice is annexed to his section 115 statement.
“A good friend, Mzamo Xaba, a very successful businessman heard of his predicament and agreed to lend him R300,000 which was to be repaid when he was in a financial position to do so.
“On 1 December 2012 R300,000 reflected in Accused 16’s personal bank account with the reference “Ndiyema”, which is Accused 16’s clan name which was known to Xaba.
“Accused 16 believed that the money paid by Xaba, who informed the accused that he had made the payment.
“‘On 3 December 2012, Accused 16 transferred R250,000 of his money to Sars as part payment toward his tax debt.
“He repaid Xaba when he was in a position to do so.
“Xaba passed away in 2018.
NEWS: In case you were wondering how ANC heavyweight Mike Mabuyakhulu won his case, these two pages of the ruling on his corruption trial has it all. The ruling of the Durban High Court shows how he justified the R300,000 payment referenced Ndiyema from one of the accused. @IOL pic.twitter.com/L8SA8EtgPm— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) June 22, 2023
“Accused only discovered after he was charged that the payment originated from Accused 6 (Mkhize of Soft Skills Communications).
“He had no idea that Accused 6 received money from Accused 3 (Soft Skills Communications).
“He only learnt later, after charges had been laid against him that Accused 2 (Ceaser Mkhize) owed the late Mr Xaba R300,000 which Mr Xaba asked that this amount be deposited into the account of Accused 16 (Mabuyakhulu),” read part of the ruling.
In its ruling, the court also found that there was no way Mabuyakhulu could have influenced the decision to sponsor the jazz festival, since the final decision was taken by the provincial cabinet after intensive discussions.
It also noted that at some point, Mabuyakhulu called a departmental meeting where he said the money paid for the festival should be recouped.
It said that was not consistent with the conduct of a person who was going to illegally benefit from the tender.
“More importantly it has not been disclosed what was the quid pro quo expected of Accused 16 (Mabuyakhulu) in exchange for receiving the R300,000.
“What unlawful act did he perform to authorise?
“It must be borne that throughout the process of the MESC he could only (together with other political heads) make recommendations.
“The Committee had no power to make decisions or to authorise budgets or payment to any service provider.
“None of the state witnesses was able to offer any evidence to implicate Accused 16 in any improper conduct either at the subcommittee level, or in the provincial Cabinet in relation to the NSJF,” it read.