Sizwe Mchunu, MPP
Leader of the DA in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature
The Democratic Alliance has responded to affidavits from the National Prosecuting Agency (NPA) and KZN ECOD MEC,Mike Mabuyakhulu, in a move which will ultimately see the party challenge the public entity in court over its refusal to release the record of decision leading to charges of fraud and racketeering being dropped against the MEC and his former co-accused KZN Speaker, Peggy Nkonyeni in the so-called “Amigo’s” trial.
Mabuyakhulu and Nkonyeni were originally linked to a multi-million water purification scandal in the province. The charges against them were dropped in September 2012. The DA’s subsequent Public Access to Information application (PAIA) to obtain the reason for this decision was turned down by the NPA in November.
In May this year, the DA announced its intention to take the matter to court. Both the NPA and Mabuyakhulu have since filed opposing affidavits. Speaker Nkonyeni has not opposed the application.
The DA has filed an affidavit in which we note the following;
- In its affidavit, the NPA claims that the information requested will vindicate its decision to withdraw the charges against Mabuyakhulu and Nkonyeni. Why then has it refused the DA’s PAIA application?
- The NPA’s affidavit refers to the possibility of preferential treatment of Mabuyakhulu and Nkonyeni. This is highly disturbing.
- The NPA allege ‘confidential representations’. This cannot be true as they were made to the Minister of Justice who passed them on
- The DA has followed the PAIA procedure and is not able to appeal the refusal internally
- The NPA has not attached the latest indictment (3rd). We will be applying for the document in terms of the rules for transparency
- The NPA clearly thinks it is above the PAIA laws of the country. Claims that the information would be ‘inconvenient for prosecution’ are not grounds for refusing the application.
In terms of MEC Mabuyakhulu’s affidavit;
- The MEC is of the view that the information requested will confirm his innocence. If this is the case then why does he not support the DA’s request for the record of decision from the NPA?
- Only Speaker Nkonyeni made representations. These are not privileged so no grounds exist for their not being released to the DA.
The DA is a political party within the KZN legislature and the MEC and Speaker are accountable to the legislature. As part of its oversight role, the DA is entitled to the record of decision – it is part of our constitutional right. Equally important are the rights of the KwaZulu-Natal public, who deserve to know why these serious charges were dropped.
We remain steadfast in our view that the NPA is trying to hide certain information from public scrutiny – or worse still – is protecting politicians. We are committed to following this process through to the end.