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Johannesburg - The African National Congress' Johannesburg deputy secretary Dan Bovu, accused of trying to sell state land, was granted R5,000 bail by the Commercial Crimes Court on Wednesday. 

Bovu faces charges of fraud for allegedly trying to sell vacant land in Vlakfontein through a trust in 2006. He was Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for housing under the previous administration in the city at the time. 

The case was re-opened and Bovu charged along with an accomplice by Lenasia police, owing to pressure by Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and his Democratic Alliance party. 

Mashaba welcomed the arrest, adding that the complainant in the case was looking for a stand in the Vlakfontein area and was introduced to Bovu's co-accused, who allegedly told him that he worked for the Thembelihle Development Trust, which was assisting people to buy stands in the area. 

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The complainant was allegedly told to pay R5,000 into the trust account after which he would be able to choose a stand for himself.  A second complainant alleged that he paid R4,000 for a stand in the same area but discovered that someone had started building a house on the stand he paid for without his knowledge. The two then laid criminal charges against Bovu but he was never prosecuted. 

Mashaba said he approached the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to provide reasons for not prosecuting Bovu for alleged fraud after a motion tabled in council that authorised him to approach the NPA. 

"To the credit of the NPA, they have engaged with our council and acted to ensure that Councillor Bovu has his day in court. Though the chances are slim, I do hope that the ANC will do the right thing and immediately remove Bovu from their ranks. The commitment to the fight against corruption is truly tested when leaders are willing to act against their own, and this is a test Councillor Parks Tau [ANC Johannesburg chairman] is yet to pass," Mashaba said. 

Earlier, ANC regional spokesman Jolidee Matongo said Bovu has relinquished his position so he can concentrate on the court case. 

African News Agency/ANA