Sophy Noko hoping to land Public Protector job, despite controversies

2016-07-08 18:35
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Who’s Who on the new Public Protector list

View the profiles of some of the candidates nominated to be the new Public Protector here.

Durban - One of those in contention for the coveted spot of public protector is KwaZulu-Natal Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Moipone (Sophy) Noko.

Noko rose to the influential post in 2013, appointed by President Jacob Zuma. Her ascension came despite being under investigation for maladministration, favouritism and abuse of her office.

At the time of her appointment, the City Press reported that Noko had opted to withdraw charges of intimidation and harassment against Zuma’s fifth wife, Tobeka Madiba-Zuma.

She has been in the position in an acting capacity for almost a year.

Within days of being appointed acting director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal last September, Noko famously withdrew corruption charges against two ANC provincial leaders - Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu and Speaker Peggy Nkonyeni.

Zuma business links

The two, along with businessman Gaston Savoi, had been dubbed the "Amigos" in their R144m corruption and racketeering trial.

The Daily Maverick reported that Noko, in court papers, had stated that she had considered representations made to her by some of the accused, had held consultations with staff and personnel involved, and had reconsidered the matter after looking at the indictment.

She had eventually come to the conclusion that the charges against nine accused people and companies, including Mabuyakhulu and Nkonyeni, should be withdrawn "for now".

The buck had also stopped with Noko when she withdraw graft charges against controversial businessman Thoshan Panday.

Panday has his own business links to the Zuma family, including close ties with the president’s son Edward.

Panday had scored big from police accommodation tenders and was also revealed to have paid for a R20 000 birthday party for KwaZulu-Natal Police Commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni’s husband.

He then faced a further charge for bribery, but before he could have allegations against him tested in court, Noko and another senior state advocate withdrew the charges against him, seemingly on Panday’s word that electronic communication had been bugged illegally and that he had been coerced by members of the crime intelligence unit to turn on Ngobeni.

Noko had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publishing.

- If you would like to comment or object to any names on the list, send your comments or objections to Vhonani Ramaano by Friday.

Read more on:    public protector  |  judiciary

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