MECs back in court in November

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SABRINA DEAN – The corruption case against two Free State MECs and six co-accused has been postponed to 25 November to allow for a pre-trial conference to take place.

Health MEC Benny Malakoane and Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Mmathabo Leeto were both briefly in the dock in the Bloemfontein Regional Court this morning. They were joined by co-accused Matjhabeng CFO Louis de Bruin, his personal assistant Leona Nel, Oupa Molete and Hendrik Burger.

After consulting with the state and various legal representatives, Magistrate Dawn Soomaroo postponed the case for a pre-trial conference, saying all issues must be resolved so that a trial date can be set on 25 November.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Nathi Mncube says the pre-trial conference is intended to streamline proceedings and prevent wasting the court’s time.

A warrant of arrest was also issued for accused Rudolf Kotze, who was not present. His lawyer apologized for not bringing the necessary doctor’s note and Soomaroo stayed the execution of the warrant until 25 November.

The other accused is the company Gestetner Maluti.

Meanwhile the Treatment Action Campaign in the Free State has again called for Malakoane’s dismissal.

TAC members were present during today’s court proceedings. TAC Free State Chairperson Sello Mokhalipi says with the current poor state of affairs at the health department, the province cannot afford to have its MEC fighting corruption charges in court.