National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Shamila Batohi. Picture: ALON SKUY
National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Shamila Batohi. Picture: ALON SKUY

National director of public prosecutions Shamila Batohi has expressed serious concern over the withdrawal of the case against controversial Eastern Cape ANC leader Pumlani Mkolo and 10 others implicated in the Nelson Mandela memorial fraud scandal.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) national spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke said in a statement on Friday: “The NPA is concerned at this turn of events and has asked for an urgent report on the reason for the delays and what action will be taken to ensure that the matters are placed back on the roll as soon as possible.

"This matter is one of the high-profile matters on the Anti-Corruption Task Team list‚ which should have received priority.”

Makeke confirmed that the acting director of public prosecutions in the Eastern Cape‚ Indhrambal Goberdan‚ had provisionally withdrawn charges against all accused at the East London Magistrate’s Court in respect of the following matters: State vs Ncitha and others, State vs Viswanathan Pillay and State vs Mkolo and others. “These charges are all related to funds that were allegedly fraudulently diverted from the Buffalo City municipality budget meant for former president Nelson Mandela’s funeral‚” she said.

Makeke said Goberdan came to the decision to provisionally withdraw the case as she did not anticipate that the cases would be ready to proceed on the scheduled dates of next appearance‚ which are May 13‚ 17 and 30.

The accused faced charges of fraud‚ corruption and money laundering.

Mkolo is the suspended ANC Dr WB Rubusana regional chair and a controversial figure. His co-accused include four other senior provincial ANC politicians: Sindiswa Gomba‚ Zukiswa Ncitha‚ Themba Tinta and Luleka Simon-Ndzele.

The case against businesspeople Nosiphiwo Mati‚ Zintle Nkuhlu‚ Viwe Vazi and Dean Fanoe‚ as well as Buffalo City senior officials Vincent Pillay and Ondela Mahlangu‚ is also being withdrawn.