North Sea Jazz Festival lawsuit to continue despite court dismissing unreasonable delay claim

ANC KZN Deputy Chairman Mike Mabuyakhulu during a prayer meeting at City Hall on April 18, 2021 in Durban.

PHOTO: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images

  • The court rejected a request for Mike Mabuyakhulu and his co-defendant regarding the North Sea Jazz Festival case.
  • The companies involved were reportedly paid 28 million rand, but the festival did not take place.
  • The criminal case continues in October.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court has dismissed a claim by ANC heavyweight Mike Mabuyakhulu and his co-defendants in their corruption trial, relating to the North Sea Jazz Festival.

Mabuyakhulu, who is free on 50,000 rand bail, along with 15 other people, filed a request for unreasonable delay.

They argued that the prosecution was dragging out the case in which they face various charges including theft, fraud and money laundering.

Their companies – Desmond Khalid Golding, DMD Capital PTY LTD, Ishashalazi Production CC, Ishinga Holdings, Maqhoboza Traders CC, Shaka Holdings, Soft Skills Communications 100 CC and Supersize Investment 20CC – were reportedly paid R28 million for the festival which was to take place . in Durban in 2012.

In a judgment, delivered Wednesday by Judge Mahendra Chetty, the court noted that it was undisputed that there had been numerous delays in the trial which began in August 2021.

“These delays have taken the form of state witnesses not being available in court on time, or adjournments caused when a witness has completed testimony, without the state having another witness ready to testify.” , say the newspapers.

Mabuyakhulu and his co-defendants argued, among other things, that the protracted trial, compounded by “unreasonable delays”, had a financial impact on the defendant, as well as an emotional and societal impact.

READ | KZN ANC leader and co-defendant in court over North Sea Jazz Festival fiasco

In their motion, Mabuyakhulu and his co-defendants did not request a stay of proceedings. They asked that the state be placed on conditions ensuring that witnesses are summoned to appear in advance.

The state opposed the request.

He maintained that it was not always possible to obtain the presence of witnesses since many of them were employed in the entertainment and event management industry.

The state also argued, among other things, that the delays could not be blamed on it alone. He argued that the case was complex, spanning multiple counts against multiple defendants and involving financial transactions of legal entities and individuals.

After considering the nature of the delays, Judge Chetty dismissed the claim on the grounds that the delays were not unreasonable.

“As a result, although the application fails, the defendants are not left without redress.

“The state has agreed and committed to certain mechanisms, which will be implemented for the remainder of the trial aimed at minimizing the delays complained of by the defendants,” he said.

The criminal proceedings have been provisionally adjourned to October 3.

Willie J. Johnson