ANC MP Bongani Bongo's corruption trial transferred to high court
The corruption case against ANC MP Bongani Bongo has been transferred to the Western Cape High Court for a pretrial on April 17.
Presiding over Bongo’s brief appearance at the Cape Town magistrate's court on Friday morning, magistrate Louis Jacobus Human extended Bongo's bail and confirmed that the home affairs portfolio committee chairperson and his legal team had been furnished with documents from the director of public prosecutions setting out a summary of facts relating to the case and a summary of witnesses who will take the stand against him.
The actual trial is set for August 3-27.
Bongo, dressed in a blue suit and a red tie, appeared subdued in the dock.
He was accompanied to court by a handful of ANC members including ANC MPs Mosebenzi Zwane, Mervyn Dirks and Joe Maswanganyi.
About 30 more ANC supporters dressed in party regalia arrived after the court appearance, singing and chanting pro-Bongo songs.
Zwane told journalists that they were happy the matter was finally going to be heard in court because this would afford Bongo an opportunity to state his side of the story.
“We are not worried that the matter is being transferred to the high court. We are happy that there is progress and the comrade will finally be able to talk to the nation because only one side of the story has been told consistently thereby giving an impression that it is true,” he said.
The corruption charges levelled against Bongo by the National Prosecuting Authority flow from claims made towards the end of 2017 by former parliamentary legal adviser advocate Nthuthuzelo Vanara. At the time, Vanara, who is now head of legal services at the SABC, was serving as the evidence leader in parliament's inquiry into the capture of Eskom by members of the Gupta family, some politicians and some of the parastatal's senior executives.
Bongo is expected to plead at the pretrial. He has previously denied the allegations in the media, saying it was all a plot by political enemies to taint his name.