Inappropriate to drop charges: DA

By Drum Digital
19 April 2012

An attempt to have charges of corruption against high profile KwaZulu-Natal ANC politicians dropped would be grossly inappropriate, the DA said on Thursday.

"Just like anyone else accused of a crime, they must have their day in court," Democratic Alliance leader in KwaZulu-Natal Sizwe Mchunu said in a statement.

"It is inconceivable that these two individuals remain in high office, particularly when all of the other accused have either retired, resigned or been dismissed."

According to reports on Thursday corruption charges against KwaZulu-Natal legislature speaker Peggy Nkonyeni and economic development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, who were implicated in the awarding of multi-million rand tenders to Intaka, may be dropped.

Independent sources told the Mercury newspaper that the head of National Prosecuting Authority's commercial crime unit Richard Mrwebi was reviewing the decision to prosecute.

Nkonyeni, Mabuyakhulu, former Ithala development finance corporation CEO Sipho Shabalala, and Uruguayan businessman Gaston Savoi have been charged with racketeering and corruption.

The charges against them relate to the awarding of multi-million rand tenders to Savoi's company, Intaka, to supply water purification plants and oxygen generating units to provincial hospitals.

Mchunu said KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize had to dispel concerns that the two officials may not face trial. If the charges were dropped it would be a clear case of justice being practised selectively.

According to reports Mrwebi recently called a meeting to discuss the trial and was expected to make a decision on prosecuting Mabuyakhulu and Nkonyeni.

Mrwebi was recently appointed by President Jacob Zuma.

In January Judge Ron McLaren set the trial date for October 1 to December 14.

Mchunu said the DA expected Mkhize to clarify whether talks had taken place.

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