AfriForum’s private prosecution unit is giving the Hawks until 30 May to provide meaningful feedback on a corruption investigation into Fikile Mbalula, the ANC secretary-general and former minister of transport, which has been hanging in the air since 2019.
If Lt. Gen. Godfrey Lebeya, head of the Hawks, does not respond by the deadline, the civil rights organization says that he will have no other choice but to approach the High Court in Pretoria.
The investigation is related to a family vacation which Mbalula took to Dubai in 2018. He was the minister of sports at that stage.
The private prosecution unit has been trying since 2019, when the case was brought by Monique Taute, head of campaigns at AfriForum, to get answers from the police and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“Instead, the case is thrown back and forth between the police and the NPA,” said Barry Bateman, communications manager of the unit.
“The criminal charge against Mbalula stems from a report by the public protector in 2018 about the then Minister of Sports’ family vacation to Dubai, which referred the matter to the NPA “to investigate whether the funds used for the trip do not pay the proceeds of money laundering”.
“Everything indicates that the NPA simply ignored this instruction.”
Bateman says the allegations against Mbalula are simple.
“This involves the Dockrat family, through connected companies, allegedly paying for the politician’s holiday – in a single transaction with a travel agent without any complicated forensic analysis of financial records and bank statements required.”
In a letter that adv. Gerrie Nel, head of the private prosecution unit, sent to Lebeya on 4 May, Nel emphasized his concern about the handling of the case.
“Based on our experience in this and other matters, we respectfully submit that the country’s misery with the fight against corruption will remain a dream for the Falcons. The disastrous investigation and prosecution of the Nulane Investment matter is a striking example of the continued incompetence of the Hawks,” the letter reads.
Nel further writes that either the incompetence of the Falcons, or the protection of certain individuals seemingly continues.
He also quotes a sentence from the author George Orwell’s book Animal Farm aan: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
“On behalf of the complainant, we reiterate our dissatisfaction with the lack of progress and failure to provide meaningful feedback. More importantly, we argue that your failure to submit a completed case file to the National Prosecuting Authority for them to decide on a prosecution lends credence to our client’s concerns about bias,” Nel continued in the letter.
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