The North West High Court in Mmabatho today granted a mandamus application, which AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit had prepared on behalf of Phatolo Kau and brought against the Premier of the North West, the North West Department of Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation, the Mmabana Arts, Culture and Sports Foundation, and the President of South Africa. The application was aimed at compelling the Premier to decide on action after a forensic investigation. The Premier now has 14 days to provide information on the steps he will be taking to implement the recommendations contained in the report. The Court also ordered the respondents to pay the costs for the application.
Already in October 2014 Kau – then Head of Human Resources at the Foundation – brought certain irregularities to the attention of the Premier of the North West, after which the Premier requested an forensic investigation into these irregularities. The private investigations company Nexus Forensic Services was appointed to undertake the investigation, which was finalised in August 2016 according to the company. It came to Kau’s attention that the report included recommendations that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) should undertake a criminal investigation into the irregularities.
Kau contacted AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit in 2019 after the Premier failed to reply to his letters to obtain access to the report in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act. The Private Prosecution Unit also directed letters to the Premier and thereafter even to President Cyril Ramaphosa in his capacity as head of the executive authority of the Republic.
According to Wico Swanepoel, Prosecutor at AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, the unit welcomes the Court’s ruling in favour of Kau. “The Premier’s office sent the complete forensic report to us earlier this week in what seems to be an attempt to prevent the application from going ahead today. This failed miserably, and the application succeeded despite the Premier wanting to take a short cut. It had been a straight-forward case right from the start, one that the Premier could have resolved easily. The mandamus application was the last resort after none of the respondents had provided the report. Now the Premier is compelled to decide on the implementation of the recommendations in the report. These especially include a decision on a subsequent investigation by the Hawks, as well as that the provincial Department of Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation informing Kau of any action – or not – taken against perpetrators identified in the report.”
According to Swanepoel, politicians and officials should take note of the consequences if investigation reports are simply ignored. “Unfortunately, there is a growing perception that the state only acts if the courts force them to do so. The Premier’s office is now not only compelled to do its duty, but because of its unwillingness it incurred a cost order for itself. These costs are unfortunately recovered from tax money that could have been utilised better, especially in these times. All we wanted to achieve with the application was to ensure that the Premier does his duty. The Private Prosecution Unit will not hesitate to force the state to take action in cases where corruption or other allegations of crime are simply swept under the carpet.”
- See link to previous statement: