DURBAN - The KwaZulu-Natal Treasury has on Tuesday obtained an interdict against a self-styled business mafia that has been holding businesses and government office bearers ransom throughout the province.
In a statement MEC for Finance, Belinda Scott, said she had “obtained a temporary interdict from the Pietermaritzburg High Court against the Amadelangokubona Business Forum, the Federation for Radical Economic Transformation (FFRET) and its leader Malusi Zondi”.
The “business forums” have previously invaded eThekwini Metro council meetings, countless multimillion rand construction sites and the South African National Roads Agency projects.
The two groups have built up a reputation in the last 24 months for invading publicly and privately funded construction sites and demanding 30% of all work, tenders or jobs.
On September 6, a KZN health department meeting was invaded, allegedly by the group who held the head of department, Dr Musa Gumede, hostage. A video clip of the incident was circulated on social media.
In her statement, Scott said the interdict was linked to that incident as well as a mob of about 40 people that arrived at her office demanding an audience with her regarding an intervention team tasked with probing serious acts of corruption within the KZN health department.
“The respondents are accused of acting unlawfully by intimidating, harassing, threatening and otherwise interfering with the day to day business of provincial treasury for KwaZulu-Natal,” said Scott.
She said the relief sought was necessary to “protect provincial treasury’s property, its employees, administrators, officials, contractors and sub-contractors and the projects the provincial treasury is involved in”.
Scott called the interdict a “resounding victory” for “swift justice”, saying, “violence and intimidation will not be tolerated by the provincial government”.
“The safety of [the] KZN Treasury staff was paramount. [I am] also not intimidated by people who are trying [to] subvert the provincial interventions by KZN Treasury into [the] health [department].”
Scott said she had also opened a criminal case against the offenders and that her action was fully supported by KZN premier Willies Mchunu as well as the provincial cabinet.
“The government will not be held to ransom by people who engage in criminal activities,” said the statement.
The forum has until November 9, to respond.
Until then its members cannot enter several provincial government buildings including Natalia House, Nomalanga Building and Treasury House, which are all based in the Pietermaritzburg CBD.
Earlier this year, eThekwini donated at least R1m to the Federation for Radical Economic Transformation to hold a conference.