Bonang must appear in court next month or be arrested, judge rules
The Johannesburg Specialised Commercialised Crimes Court has shown Bonang Matheba mercy with a warrant for her arrest being benched until October 4, after she failed to appear in court over tax fraud allegations on Thursday morning.
Bonang was summonsed to appear in court but did not show up as she was in New York, where she led a discussion at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. She was set to answer questions over both her personal and business tax returns.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane confirmed to TshisaLIVE that a warrant for the star's arrest had been issued by Magistrate Benita Oswell but was not effective unless she failed to appear in October.
"The warrant for her arrest was benched. What a bench warrant simply means is that there is a warrant for her arrest but it is not effective immediately. It is being held over until the 4th (of October). If she does not appear on the 4th, it immediately becomes effective. She has to appear in person."
Bonang's legal team had argued that she was not able to attend court because she had been invited abroad and gave a short description of her itenary.
However, the state argued that the star was told about the court appearance before she accepted the invitation abroad and did not make attempts to have the matter heard before she left.
"As the state we argued that she was summoned on the 10th of September and received the invite for this event on the 17th. They knew that she was leaving the country this past Sunday and could have arranged an earlier date with the state after receiving the invitation so she could have appeared in court before she left for the event, which they failed to do."
Meanwhile, both Bonang's management and legal team have not responded to TshisaLIVE's requests for comment.
Bonang's alleged tax troubles first made headlines last month after Sunday World reported that she was being investigated for failing to submit her full tax returns.
The report stated that the matter was allegedly adjourned, pending the outcome of further investigations. Bonang slammed the report on social media and her management Celebrity Services Africa (CSA) told TshisaLIVE the story allegedly "contains factual errors" and that Bonang "was never summonsed to appear and never appeared on charges of tax fraud".
Bonang's lawyers confirmed to TshisaLIVE they served the paper with a letter of demand and that they were suing the paper for R10-million.
Sunday World issued a statement rejecting any claims that the story was "fake" and said they stood by it.