Controversial Hawks colonel Welcome Mhlongo in 2015 tried to squash the fraud, theft and tender-rigging case against Kaizer Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung related to the R1.2bn Mbombela Stadium case.
This was revealed at the state capture inquiry on Friday by the National Prosecuting Authority’s Terence Joubert.
The case relates to Motaung and his business associates having allegedly falsified a tax certificate for the design of the stadium, as well as faking a municipal council letter, among other charges.
Joubert told the Zondo commission that a colleague had complained to him in 2015 about pressure he was facing from Mhlongo to get rid of the case against Motaung.
“I got a call from advocate Molele about a request that was made to him by Col Mhlongo,” said Joubert.
“He [Mhlongo] requested advocate Molele to either getting rid [of] or assist Bobby Motaung for some stadium that he was involved in and this did not sit well with advocate Molele who reported the matter to me.”
The case against Motaung and his business associates, Herbert Theledi and Marius Grib, has been a subject of much controversy after it was struck off the roll in 2016 owing to “insufficient evidence” amid high-ranking Hawks officers that were involved in the case being removed or redeployed.
Joubert said he gave his “friend” (Mhlongo) a tongue-lashing for sticking his nose in the Motaung case and he apologised.
But while still in Joubert’s office, Mhlongo received a phone call. This call was not about Motaung’s case but about the then recently appointed NPA boss Mxolisi Nxasana.
According to Joubert, Mhlongo was talking to whoever was on the other end of the line about a murder case against Nxasana, his wife and advocate Nomgcobo Jiba.
When the call ended, Joubert asked Mhlongo what the conversation was about, to which he responded that he was investigating a murder case against Nxasana.
Mhlongo was also probing Nxasana over whether he had any legal briefs from the Road Accident Fund (RAF), where his wife worked. In this regard, Mhlongo apparently asked Joubert to find him a contact person within the RAF.
The intention for this off-the-books investigation, Mhlongo allegedly told Joubert, was to get dirt on Nxasana so he could be removed as NDPP and for Jiba to replace him.
“He [Mhlongo] mentioned there was supposed to be a murder investigation that had to do with Nxasana being a suspect.
“He also mentioned that Nxasana’s wife was working for RAF and was under the impression that Nxasana got a lot of work from RAF.
“He said Jiba is the best person [for the NDPP position], that this guy [Nxasana] with all these criminal things should not have been appointed. He told me Nxasana was not the right person for the job and that he is trying to assist Jiba get her seat back.”
Jiba was acting NDPP when Nxasana was appointed to the post and she was demoted to her former position as deputy.
Joubert’s evidence was adjourned to next Thursday while Mhlongo is due to state his side of the story the following day.