Prosecutor drops case against Sunday Times reporter

The prosecutor in the case against Sunday Times journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika on Thursday said there was no case against him, the newspaper’s lawyer said.

“The prosecutor has said he [Wa Afrika] has no case to answer and that they can’t prosecute,” Sunday Times lawyer Eric van den Berg told the South African Press Association (Sapa) by phone.

This was said at a meeting between Van den Berg, two prosecutors from the Hawks police unit and the control prosecutor from Nelspruit that took place around lunchtime.

“He should be released immediately but the police refused to release him,” said Van den Berg.

“I don’t quite know how they are going to carry on, but they are going to carry on.”

TheTimesLive website quoted a prosecutor, Mr Erwee, as saying he had declined to prosecute Wa Afrika “on the grounds that he has no case to answer”.

Van den Berg said Wa Afrika was currently at the office of the Organised Crime Unit in Nelspruit.

“We saw him this morning, he was fine. He is just feeling very tired. We are going to a meeting with the Organised Crime Unit now and we’ll see what comes from that,” said Van den Berg.

He said it was not clear what the charges against Wa Afrika would have stemmed from.

Hawks spokesperson Musa Zondi said on Wednesday he would face charges of fraud and defeating the ends of justice.

Reports suggested this could be related to his being in possession of a fraudulent resignation letter by Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza.

“I’m not sure if the charges were him being in possession [of the letter] or him being the author,” said Van den Berg.

Zondi said he had no knowledge of the latest development.

“I don’t know about that,” he told Sapa.

Wa Afrika was arrested outside the Sunday Times office on Wednesday by members of the Hawks special police unit. He was the author of a report critical of national police chief General Bheki Cele on Sunday. - Sapa

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