Bongani Bongo’s ‘fraudulent’ land sale case postponed to January next year

04 May 2021 - 13:25
By Ernest Mabuza
Former state security minister Bongani Bongo and 11 others appeared briefly in the Mbombela magistrate's court on charges related to the purchase and sale of a farm in Mpumalanga.
Image: Antonio Muchave Former state security minister Bongani Bongo and 11 others appeared briefly in the Mbombela magistrate's court on charges related to the purchase and sale of a farm in Mpumalanga.

The case against former state security minister Bongani Bongo and 11 others in connection with the R37.5m sale and purchase of a farm in Mpumalanga was postponed until January next year.  

Bongo, his former wife Sandile Nkosi and 10 others appeared briefly at the Mbombela magistrate’s court on Tuesday collectively facing 69 counts of corruption, fraud, theft, money laundering and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act. 

Their case was postponed until next year for them to plead and for trial.

Nkosi was arrested in March and charged with her company, Kgalema Properties CC, after she handed herself to the Hawks and appeared in the Mbombela magistrate’s court.

Bongo, his brother Sipho, Robert Burwise, Patrick Donald Chirwa, Harrington Sizwakhendaba Dhlamini, Blessing Mduduzi Singwane, David Boy Dube, Vusi Willem Magagula, Bongani Louis Henry Sibiya, Elmon Lawrence Mdaka and Sibongile Mercy Mdaka were also arrested by the Hawks in October last year.

They appeared together with four companies, namely:

  • The Little River Trading 156 (Pty) Ltd;
  • Broad Market Trading 204 (Pty) Ltd;
  • Bongiveli CC; and
  • Pfuka Afrika CC. 

They are out on R10,000 bail each. 

They face allegations which emanate from the R37.5m sale and purchase of the farm Naauwpoort in eMalahleni by the Mpumalanga department of human settlements ostensibly on behalf of eMalahleni municipality.  

It is alleged that some of the accused acted  to exploit the purchase of land by government and misrepresented facts to the department regarding ownership and the true sale price of the farm. 

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the real owner of the farm, Petrus van Tonder, was paid only R15m for the farm from the R37.5m.

The money was paid into the trust account of Singwane Attorneys in their capacity as conveyancer appointed by the department. 

In another transaction, Bongiveli entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Fremax Farms for a portion of Rietspruit for an amount of R10.5m.

However, Msukaligwa local municipality’s valuation of the portion of the Rietspruit farm was valued at R1.6m.

Little River Trading paid R1.5m as a deposit for the farm and Bongiveli had to deliver a guarantee issued by a bank or financial institution for payment of the balance of the purchase price on or before May 31 2011. 

Some of the accused, as members of Pfuka Afrika CC, received commission of R4.5m.

“Although the state wanted a trial date in August or September, the matter was postponed to January 10 to 14 2022 and January 24 to February 18 for plea and trial because of the unavailability of some of the defence legal team members,” said NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema.

Ngwema said Dhlamini, Singwane and Dube have applied for their bail conditions to be relaxed.

Their application will be heard on May 25.

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