Asset Forfeiture Unit seizes Mabuyakhulu assets over jazz festival graft probe

On Thursday, the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), accompanied by Hawks investigators and a team of curators, seized assets belonging to ANC KwaZulu-Natal deputy chairperson Mike Mabuyakhulu and 15 other individuals and companies charged for corruption over a R26-million jazz festival that never happened.

The move by the AFU comes ahead of the appearance of Mabuyakhulu — who was KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development MEC in 2012 when the department was allegedly defrauded — and his six co-accused in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court next month.

A number of teams swooped simultaneously on homes and offices owned by the accused, who allegedly laundered the R26-million through companies they owned, in Durban, Empangeni and Westbrook Beach on the lower KwaZulu-Natal north coast.

Cars, several luxury vehicles and at least two houses are understood to have been seized in the raids, authorised by the high court earlier in the week. Homes in several upmarket Durban suburbs, including Glen Ashley and Umhlanga, were hit in the operation.

Maybuyakhulu’s Empangeni home is understood to have been raided. It is not known at this stage what assets belonging to him were preserved.

“Our members along with a number of curators and the AFU are on site as we speak doing inventory on a number of sites connected to the 16 respondents in the court order,” Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said. “They are currently taking inventory in compliance with the order.”

The accused in the case are Mabuyakhulu and former Economic Development department head Desmond Golding and event organisers Ceaser Mkhize, Mabheleni Ntuli, Basil Ninela and his wife Brenda, Nothando Zungu, Ntokozo Ndlovu and Njabulo Mkhize.

They allegedly received payment for the festival, which the department was a sponsor of, despite it being cancelled because of contractual disputes with a European partner in the venture.

They were arrested in February 2018 and face 77 counts of money laundering, corruption and fraud over the payments, from which Mabuyakhulu allegedly benefited to tune of R330 000. The balance allegedly went to his co-accused.

Jimmy Howse, Mabuyakhulu’s advocate, has previously indicated that when the case resumes he intends to request a separation of trial between his client and the other accused.

Mabuyakhulu, the KwaZulu-Natal coordinator of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign for the ANC presidency in 2017, was elected as ANC deputy provincial chairperson on a “unity” slate in July 2018.

He was axed as MEC in the cabinet reshuffle that took place after the disputed November 2015 provincial conference.

He did not answer calls on his cellphone at the time of writing.

ANC KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said the party did not have all the facts about the raid but would issue a statement in due course.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

Related stories

Tax, wage bill, debt, pandemic: Mboweni’s tightrope budget policy statement

The finance minister has to close the jaws of the hippo and he’s likely to do this by tightening the country’s belt, again.

Johannesburg cannot police its future

South Africa’s biggest city is ground zero for debates about the long-term effectiveness and constitutionality of militarised urban policing and how we imagine the post-Covid city

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Fix economy: Cut, build, tax

Expert panel presents a range of solutions to the economic crisis that include cost cutting, infrastructure spending and a solidarity levy

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

Watch it again: Ramaphosa details economic recovery plan

According to the Presidency, the plan aims to expedite, in a sustainable manner, the recovery of South Africa’s economy

Subscribers only

The shame of 40 000 missing education certificates

Graduates are being left in the lurch by a higher education department that is simply unable to deliver the crucial certificates proving their qualifications - in some cases dating back to 1992

The living nightmare of environmental activists who protest mine expansion

Last week Fikile Ntshangase was gunned down as activists fight mining company Tendele’s expansions. Community members tell the M&G about the ‘kill lists’ and the dread they live with every day

More top stories

‘Battle-tested’ vs ‘kind and fair’ — DA candidates’ last push...

John Steenhuisen and Mbali Ntuli both acknowledged the problems faced by the party over the past year, with each of them offering their own leadership vision.

A Landie icon is born

Replacing one of the most-loved cars in history, the new Defender pulls off the near impossible task of doing almost everything better

NSFW: The tricky business of OnlyFans

In an increasingly digital world, OnlyFans has given online creators a new way to make money on their own terms

Q&A Sessions: ‘Keeping quiet is not an option’ — Charlotte...

More than a decade after a brief stint on the opposition benches, Charlotte Lobe is helping to fly the South African flag as a senior public servant in the department of international relations and co-operation

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday