Bongani Bongo being sworn in by former judge John Hlophe

Bongani Bongo, right, being sworn in by former judge John Hlophe in 2017. Image: GCIS

No arrest warrant issued for ex-minister of State Security Bongani Bongo as case is postponed

It was reported that Bongo and his co-accused had also forfeited their bail, due to their reported failure to appear in court.

Bongani Bongo being sworn in by former judge John Hlophe

Bongani Bongo, right, being sworn in by former judge John Hlophe in 2017. Image: GCIS

Reports that the former minister of State Security, Bongani Bongo, was set to be arrested for failing to show up in a Mbombela court on Wednesday morning, are untrue.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, Newzroom Afrika reported that former minister of spies Bongo and his co-accused did not show up in the Nelspruit Specialised Commercial Crime Court this morning, where they were due to appear over a case around a controversial land deal where they allegedly scored millions.

“Former State Security minister Bongani Bongo is now a wanted man. Bongo and some of his co-accused were a no-show in the Nelspruit Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Mpumalanga this morning. So a warrant has now be issued and the court has postponed proceedings until the second of May,” reported the broadcaster.

But National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson in Mpumalanga, Monica Nyuswa, speaking to The South African, said claims of a pending arrest were untrue.

“No warrant of arrest was issued. The matter was in court today for judgment on Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act. However, all role players made prior arrangements to postpone the matter to 2 May 2024. Only one accused appeared,” Nyuswa said.

Bongo and his co-accused want the charges against them dropped due to a supposed lack of evidence by the State.

Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 “involves the right of an accused to be discharged from the offence, he has allegedly committed where, at the close of the State’s case, there is no evidence on which the court may draw the accused to the charge”.

Background on Bongani Bongo case

Bongo and his co-accused, including his brother Sipho Bongo, were initially charged with corruption, fraud, theft and money laundering worth millions in 2020.

The brothers were accused in connection with a R37.5 million sale and purchase of farm Naauwpoort at Emalahleni by the Mpumalanga Department of Human Settlements, on behalf of eMalahleni Municipality. Bongani Bongo at one stage was MEC of the department.

The co-accused were:

  • Robert Burwise
  • Patrick Donald Chirwa
  • Harrington Sizwakhendaba Dhlamini
  • Blessing Mduduzi Singwane
  • David Boy Dube
  • Vusi Willem Magagula
  • Bongani Louis Henry Sibiya
  • Elmon Lawrence Mdaka
  • Sibongile Mercy Mdaka

“Some of the accused, acting in common concert and with common purpose, exploited the normal phenomenon of purchase of land by government by misrepresenting facts to the State [Department of Human Settlements] regarding ownership and true sale price of the farm Naauwpoort,” said then-spokesperson of the NPA, Sipho Ngwema. 

The real owner of the farm, Petrus Johannes Van Tonder, was paid R15 million of the R37.5 million for the farm. The money was then paid into the trust account of Singwane Attorneys, in their capacity as conveyancer appointed by the department. 

Van Tonder paid R1.5 million commission to Pam Golding as estate agents for the transaction. Singwane, not instructed by the department, paid R22.5 million to Little River Trading which enabled the accused to successfully steal the money,” said Ngwema in 2020. 

Along with the Bongo brothers and co-accused, four companies have also been charged: The Little River Trading 156 (Pty) Ltd, Broad Market Trading 204 (Pty) Ltd, Bongiveli CC and Pfuka Afrika CC. 

The accused are currently out on R10 000 bail.

Additional reporting by Andrea Chothia