Bobby Motaung’s lawyer targeted for defending ‘killer’

2012-12-03 17:14

Zola Majavu, the lawyer for Kaizer Chiefs Football Club boss Bobby Motaung, said his car was defaced the last time he came to represent his client in Nelspruit because the public believes that the fraud case was about the assassination of former Mbombela speaker Jimmy Mohlala.

Mohlala, who fought corruption related to the Mbombela stadium, was shot dead in what is widely believed to be a politically motivated hit.

Majavu, Motaung and his co-accused – Herbert Theledi and Chris Grip – arrived in the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court today, accompanied by bodyguards.

Motaung, Theledi and Grip are facing charges of committing fraud worth R143 million in the construction of the R1.2-billion Mbombela World Cup stadium.

They appeared for the fourth time today but there were no protesters outside court, unlike previous occasions when protesters brandished placards demanding to know Mohlala’s assassins.

The protesters’ questions were directed at the three accused in this case as well as Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza.

Said Majavu outside court: “We would like to appeal to the general public that the charges that our clients are facing rightly or wrongly exclude the death of Jimmy Mohlala. There’s nowhere in the charge sheet where it says they’re facing murder.

“This is getting risky because my car was defaced the last time I was here because people believe that I’m representing a killer. This was due to an irresponsible comment that was made by the prosecutor (Advocate Patrick Nkuna) at the beginning of this matter, but I’m happy and respect the fact that he clarified the matter in court.”

Majavu said a placard with “a message” about Mohlala had been pasted on his car. “This is not fair even to Mohlala’s family. They’re playing on their emotions,” he added.

Majavu said they were accompanied by bodyguards because it was too risky.

Motaung, Theledi and their bodyguards were stuck in a lift for more than 20 minutes on their way to the third floor for their appearance. The court’s technicians came to their rescue.

Motaung seemed unshaken and was jovial as always, teasing the Hawks members who had arrested him and making a joke about the incident.

Motaung told Nkuna before the court proceedings started that he would not agree to a plea bargain because the policemen had to get their bonuses.

“Look at that man,” Motaung said, pointing at a man who was fanning the air with his hands at the back of the packed court gallery. “Here there are windows, but he’s feeling very hot. The lift had no windows,” he said, sending guffaws through the gallery.

The case was postponed to March 1 next year because the defence wants to apply for Motaung and Theledi not to be cited as representatives of Lefika Emerging Equity (Pty) Ltd. They are directors while Grip is the chief executive officer of the company.

Nkuna accused the trio’s defence of using delaying tactics and abusing court processes with the application.

“This is a very strange request by the defence. The matter was on the roll on October 29. They were sleeping and woke up to bring this application. It’s not in the interest of justice that the matter is delayed unnecessarily,” Nkuna said.

The defence, however, hit back at Nkuna, saying that he had failed to provide paginated indices of the docket as he was ordered by the court during the last appearance.

Motaung, Theledi and Grip allegedly used a false tax certificate when they bid to get the tender to design the Mbombela stadium; forged a Mbombela council letter with a fake signature of former Mbombela municipal manager Sgananda Siboza to get a R1-million overdraft from a bank; and stole R143 million.

Meanwhile, former Mbombela municipal manager Jacob Dladla and former technical services director at the Ehlanzeni district council, Tebogo Kubeka, appeared on separate charges relating to the stadium corruption last week.

They face charges of fraud, corruption and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) to the value of R920 million. They will appear again on March 4 next year.

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