ANC bigwig and former Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele looks likely to make it to his next court appearance after resigning from his position as South Africa’s high commissioner in Canberra, Australia.
He was absent when his co-accused in the fraud and corruption case appeared at the Pretoria Commercial Court on September 1 to learn about the date the matter would be heard in the North Gauteng High Court.
His lawyer in the matter, Jerome Brauns SC, had asked for Ndebele to be excused from that last appearance, citing the costs of travelling from Australia.
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During the September 1 appearance, Brauns also asked magistrate Nicca Setshogoe to excuse Ndebele for the next appearance.
“A scenario might happen that on that day, December 1, he might not attend . he’s hoping that on that day he be excused as well,” Brauns told Setshogoe. She and prosecutor Peter Serunye did not object.
With the news that Ndebele has now resigned from his Canberra post, the trial now looks set to proceed.
Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation’s Clayson Monyela confirmed Ndebele’s resignation.
Indicted last December and granted bail of R10000 in the same month, Ndebele faces a criminal case in which he is accused of receiving a R10-million bribe in 2010 while still transport minister.
Ndebele allegedly received the money for illegal extension of a R2-billion contract awarded to Tasima, the company that manages the National Traffic Information System.
His resignation come just days after it emerged that South Africa’s ambassador to Singapore, Hazel Francis Ngubeni, has a criminal record after she was jailed in the US in 1999-2001 for drug trafficking.
Professor Shadrack Gutto, constitutional law expert at the University of SA, told Sowetan Ndebele’s decision to quit was honourable.
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