Avatar photo

By Stephen Tau


State Capture: Are the wheels of justice beginning to move?

NPA says it will take bold and innovative steps, to bring justice and restitution to the nation when dealing with corruption and State Capture cases.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it will take bold and innovative steps, to bring justice and restitution to the nation when dealing with corruption and State Capture cases.

This follows the ambitious announcement by the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi during the NPA’s briefing to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee in March this year that they are committed to enrolling nine seminal matters before the end of last month.

According to the NPA spokesperson, Vuyo Mhaga, this is part of their constitutional mandate to take decisive and visible action against high-level corruption.

Already this week, former MEC for Agriculture in the Free State, Mosebenzi Zwane appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on charges of corruption.

Zwane two other co-accused faces charges of fraud, theft, money laundering and corruption in connection with the Estina dairy farm project in the Free State, where more than R200 million of public funds that were meant to empower black farmers were looted.

ALSO READ: Estina dairy project: Mosebenzi Zwane granted bail of R10 000

The plan for the seminal cases was coordinated by a dedicated Task Force within the NPA working in close collaboration with the SAPS’ Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI) and other law enforcement partners.

Mhaga said Estina case and other cases are seminal because they exemplify the workings of state capture, involving accused persons from both government and the private sector who allegedly played vital roles in repurposing state institutions, syphoning off public funds for private gain and committing the most damaging forms of high-level corruption, including crimes committed as part of the state capture project.

“These cases are the product of long-standing investigations undertaken by the NPA’s Investigating Directorate (ID) and Directors of Public Prosecutions, in close co-operation and collaboration with the DPCI,” Mhaga said.

Meanwhile one of the first whistleblowers of the Estina scandal Doctor Radebe told The Citizen this week he is expecting further threats to his life following the appearance of Zwane in court.

ALSO READ: Estina dairy farm: Whistleblower expects more threats to his life after Zwane’s court appearance

Some of the other seminal cases enrolled in the past six months

SAPS: R54-million Tender Corruption: Former National Commissioner of Police, Khomotso Phahlane and others were arrested and appeared before the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 21 September 2022. They face charges related to R54m procurement corruption in the Crime Intelligence Division in 2016. Members of the top echelons of law enforcement are facing justice, whereas it would not have been possible a few years ago.


R398.4 million corruption case where former Transnet Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Brian Molefe, former Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Anoj Singh, as well as Regiments Capital Directors Niven Pillay and Litha Nyhonhya, were charged with contravention of the PFMA and fraud on August 29 this year. They joined former Transnet Group CEO Siyabonga Gama, former Group CFO Garry Pita and others who were charged on May 27.

A key focus of this case included McKinsey SA (represented by former principal, Vigas Sagar) and former employee, Goitseone Mangope, who were brought before a court on 30 September to be joined as co-accused.

The matter will return to court on 14 October.

“Transnet is one of the primary and emblematic sites of massive looting of state funds at the peak of the state capture era. Enrolling these cases is, therefore, an important milestone and outcome of our complex investigations,” said Mhaga.

Tegeta Exploration:

This is an R107.5 million corruption case which pertains to how a former Deputy Director General DDG in the Department of Mineral Resources, former Tegeta Exploration and Resources Director and a former trustee of Optimum Coal Mine allegedly illegally utilised mine rehabilitation funds for the Optimum Coal Mine trust account and Koornfontein Mine trust account in 2016. Enrolled a few weeks ago, the accused are Ronica Ragavan & Others.

The Gauteng High Court granted preservation orders to the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) against those involved in “financing” the purchase of Optimum Coal Mine (OCM) for R2.1 billion by the Gupta-owned Tegeta Resources. The scale of the “heist” at OCM is unprecedented. Valued at R3.4-billion, this is the largest preservation order in the AFU’s history. Further investigations are underway.

Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) and Impulse: Four former employees appeared before court on 12 July, charged with corruption, fraud and money laundering in the R549.6 million case related to Eskom projects. Eskom was at the core of state capture, seemingly enabled by senior executives, while its effects are felt daily by ordinary South Africans.

SAPS R8.5 million PPE contract:

This Case involves corruption in the order of R8.5million pertaining to the procurement of SAPS Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and plumbing material. The matter initially enrolled as a R1.9m PPE corruption case but has now escalated to R8.5m. The total number of accused now stands at 26.

SA Express: Matter relating to an allegedly unlawful contract between the North West Department of Community Safety and Transport Management and SA Express, for the rehabilitation and reintroduction of flights at Mahikeng and Pilanesberg Airports. Over R221 million paid out by the Department into SA Express was laundered through a scheme which involved Koroneka and others. The accused were brought to court on 30 September 2022, charged with fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravention of the PFMA.

Winnie Madikizela Mandela Museum (Brandfort):

This matter was enrolled on September 21 this year and it relates to the alleged misuse of money in a project coordinated by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and Lejweleputswa District Municipality to rehabilitate the Winnie Madikizela Mandela Museum in Majwemasweu, Free State, which resulted in a loss of more than R700 000.

Five people, including a former head of department and two former municipal managers of Lejweleputswa District Municipality, were charged for fraud.

“These cases are a clear indication that the wheels of justice are in motion and that impunity for high-level corruption is no longer a given and they are also reflective of our two-pronged strategy to deal with corruption: prosecuting perpetrators and recovering the stolen money.

“We will continue to act with the same sense of urgency as we have done in the last six months, in our relentless pursuit of justice and accountability and as a country, we must recognise that we will not prosecute ourselves out of decades of state capture,” Mhaga said.

Mhaga added that they will continue to give effect to the recommendations of the State Capture Commission and restore faith in the rule of law.