Diaries of four top KZN advocates to determine what happens in two major corruption cases

Diaries of four top KZN advocates to determine what happens in two major corruption cases

The diaries of four top criminal advocates in KwaZulu-Natal are likely to set the pace of two of the province’s biggest trials.

Advocates Griffiths Madonsela, Jimmy Howse, Paul Jorgensen and Jay Naidoo are representing the accused in the ongoing multi-million-rand corruption and racketeering matter involving former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede.

They are also acting for the accused in the alleged R37m Mhlathuze Water Board case in Richards Bay.

On Monday, Gumede’s trial got off to a slow start while the four argued the water board matter. 

It made little difference though, because one of Gumede’s co-accused in the trial involving a R320m Durban Solid waste tender, ANC councillor Sduduzo Khuzwayo, was sick.

Judge Sharmaine Balton rolled the trial over until Tuesday.

In the water board matter before judge Nompumelelo Radebe, there were fireworks, with the four advocates and others representing the 16 accused suggesting the matter be struck from the roll because in four months the state had still not supplied the defence with the docket.

They accused the state of continuing the investigation after the accused were arrested, then prematurely transferring it to the high court.

The state alleges that former water board CEO Mthokozisi Pius Duze, CFO Babongile Mnyandu and others colluded to ensure attorney Sthembelo Ralph Mhlanga and his company, Mhlanga Incorporated, were appointed to a legal panel. The firm then received most of the work, scoring R37m in 20 months.

Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize, director-general in the premier’s office, has been charged with intimidation and fraud after allegations by water board chairperson Thabi Shange, who commissioned a forensic audit report and investigation into the firm’s appointment. 

Shange said Mkhize introduced her to a man from “the National Intelligence Agency” who threatened her and coerced her into handing over the report, of which there was only one copy.

Soon afterwards Mhlanga sent an email to the Mhlathuze board, attaching a copy thereof.

Advocate Madonsela, for Mkhize, said she was only charged with two of more than 220 counts in the indictment, while in the fraud matter “she had just given a telephone number”.

“She should not be in the high court. She should not have joined and we will bring a substantive application in this regard,” he submitted.

Prosecutor Reenai Ramouthar said there was an apparent conflict of interest, with one of the accused being represented by law firm Garlicke and Bousfield, and she would not hand over the docket while that remained unresolved. She said witnesses from the law firm were expected to testify for the state and the court would have to resolve the issue.

But Advocate Howse said he was “puzzled” his instructing attorney had never made a statement to the police in the matter. 

“It’s a mystery … but we can deal with it when we get the docket.”

Judge Radebe ordered the state to supply the defence with the docket by November 24 and postponed the matter until November 28 for a pretrial hearing.

However, she said, she could not guarantee she would hear any pretrial arguments then because of her existing court roll.


Source: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2023-11-06-diaries-of-four-top-kzn-advocates-to-determine-what-happens-in-two-major-corruption-cases/