The claim by the Guptas’ lawyer, Gert van der Merwe, that he has done nothing wrong in a R16-million corruption case he was accused of being part of is misleading, to say the least.
Van der Merwe revealed in an affidavit that he appears to have participated or assisted in laundering money between Limpopo’s former MEC of Health, Miriam Segabutla, and businessman, Johnny Lucas. He was arrested in 2013 before turning state witness against his co-accused.
He now wants indemnity against prosecution in terms of section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which is designed to offer indemnity from prosecution if one incriminates oneself, answer all questions openly and honestly, to the satisfaction of the Presiding Officer, who makes the final decision on indemnity at the end of the trial.
Van der Merwe’s claim that he did not “knowingly, intentionally or actively participate in any criminal activities” contradicts what he submitted in the Section 204 affidavit. If this is indeed the case, and it does not appear to be so from the contents of his affidavit, then he does not need the protection offered by section 204, since if he has done nothing wrong he could not be prosecuted for anything, would not need indemnity and would be an ordinary witness.
It comes as no surprise that Van der Merwe was chosen by the Guptas to represent the family.
The DA have already written to the Law Society of the Northern Provinces and welcome their decision to investigate the conduct of Van der Merwe. Should it be found that he does not conform to the high ethical standards expected of a member of the profession, as we contend that he does not, an application to have him struck off the roll should be brought immediately.