A significant step has been taken towards privately prosecuting ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula on charges of corruption related to his 2016 family holiday to Dubai. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit collected the docket from South African Police Service (SAPS) headquarters on Friday after successfully filing a 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. 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.

Barry Bateman, spokesperson for the unit, says the team will now closely study the docket. “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 benefactor’s 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. Mbalula’s matter may be the clearest case yet of selective prosecution, where a politically connected person, and his well-to-do benefactors, is sheltered from prosecution,” says Bateman.

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.

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.”

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