DPP ‘shows how it’s done’

2010-10-21 00:00

THE national Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Menzi Simelane, will continue personally to prosecute more cases in South African courts “because he believes in the hands-on approach and wants to show other prosecutors how it is done”.

This was the response from Mthunzi Mhaga, spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), to a question from the media about what has motivated Simelane to prosecute in the case involving, among others, the former head of KZN Treasury and Ithala Bank group chief executive, Sipho Derrick Shabalala.

Appearing before the Pietermaritzburg regional court yesterday were Shabalala, his wife Beatrice Ntombenhle Shabalala, former KZN Health Department HODs Dr Busi Nyembezi and Yoliswa Lulama ­Mbhele, Uruguayan national Gaston Savoi, Durban advocate Sandile Khuboni, Durban businessman Lindelihle Mkhwanazi and three companies associated with some of the accused.

They are facing charges related to at least R46 million defrauded from two KZN departments — Health and the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) formerly known as the Local Government and Traditional Affairs.

Mhaga said that, despite being the head of NPA, Simelane is still a prosecutor and he likes to lead by example.

“Hence, he intends to wear his gown and be seen prosecuting in courts more often”.

It is the first time in South Africa that the national director of prosecutions is directly prosecuting a case.

Simelane is assisted by Advocate Ncedile Dunywa and Nomfundo Siphunzi.

However, Mhaga did not confirm that Simelani will see the case through to its conclusion.

Commenting on the case, Mhaga described it as a big project and said it is possible that more people will be prosecuted in connection with the charges, as investigations are still continuing.

“Once we have finished the investigation, we will then propose the date of trial to the courts in consultation with the legal representatives of the accused,” Mhaga said.

The small Regional Court 10 was packed with journalists waiting for proceedings to start, which were delayed until 2 pm.

Legal representatives and journalists were competing for seats and chairs were borrowed from neighbouring courts. Most journalists were forced to stand.

Magistrate Chris van Vuuren presided over the awarding of bail to the accused, which ranged between R30 000 and R50 000, a process that lasted about half-an-hour.

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