AfriForum goes after Mbalula over luxury Dubai holiday

By Chris Steyn

The funding of a luxury family holiday to Dubai has come back to haunt African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula on the eve of the elections.

This with an announcement from AfriForum that a “significant step” has been taken towards privately prosecuting Mbalula on charges of corruption related to the holiday.

The private prosecution follows a decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) not to charge Mbalula in connection with allegations regarding funding for his family trip to Dubai in 2016 and 2017 because of “a lack of evidence”. The trips were taken during his tenure as Minister of Sports and Recreation.

Now AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit is “closely” studying the docket after collecting it from South African Police Service (SAPS) headquarters following a successful Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application.

“The unit is even more convinced that Mbalula has a case to answer to. After a cursory inspection of the evidence, it is abundantly clear that the decision not to prosecute Mbalula was irrational,” says unit spokesperson Barry Bateman.

“The evidence suggests collusion between witnesses and the SAPS; a failure to obtain statements from important witnesses and possible suspects; a failure to obtain valuable records and data; and poor cooperation between the SAPS and prosecutors.”

After identifying portions of the record that were not disclosed in compliance with PAIA, the Private Prosecution Unit will continue engagements to address this apparent oversight. “This will allow the unit to exercise its constitutional right to access any State-held information where it is required for the exercise or protection of any right.”

Bateman adds: “Despite shortfalls, the evidence suggests Mbalula has several benefactors who fund his extravagant lifestyle. The question arises, why were these leads not followed up? Claims made in affidavits were accepted at face value and not scrutinised.

“Notably, a statement from one of Mbalula’s main benefactors was not included in the docket. We are shocked, but not surprised, because we warned the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of a clear conflict of interest because of the family relations with a senior NPA official.”

Bateman describes Mbalula’s matter as possibly “the clearest case yet of selective prosecution, where a politically connected person, and his well-to-do benefactors, is sheltered from prosecution”.

He charges: “Considering the poor investigation and irrational decision not to prosecute, appears to us that Mbalula has been protected by the police and the NPA. This has only strengthened the unit’s resolve to ensure Mbalula has his day in court.”

He concludes: “We are reminded of Justice Dikgang Moseneke’s comments in the Glenister judgment: ‘… corruption threatens to fell at the knees of virtually everything we hold dear and precious in our hard-won constitutional order … When corruption and organised crime flourish, sustainable development and economic growth are stunted. And in turn, the stability and security of society is put at risk.”

BizNews has asked the ANC for comment on this move against its SG.

BizNews has also written to the NPA for comment.

The story will be updated should the party and the NPA respond.

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