Former State Security Minister Bongani Bongo made a second appearance at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday for his alleged attempted bribery case.
Bongo, who is now an African National Congress (ANC) MP and chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs, was supported in court by a number of his ANC comrades.
They included fellow MP and former minister Mosebenzi Zwane as well as MP and former Premier of the North West Supra Mahumapelo.
Trial to proceed
Bongo’s case will proceed to trial in the Western Cape High Court at a date to be determined on 21 February. He is out on R5,000 bail.
He was first arrested in November last year on a charge of attempted bribery aimed at derailing Parliament’s inquiry into state capture at state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
Ntuthuzelo Vanara, who was the evidence leader in the parliamentary inquiry, accused Bongo of trying to bribe him in October 2017 to derail the inquiry.
Soon after Bongo’s arrest, the ANC’s Integrity Commission called on the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to instruct him to “step aside” from his position as an MP “to restore the confidence of the public in the ANC’s stated position of zero tolerance to corruption.”
NDZ supporters ‘feel targeted’
However, Bongo claimed in an interview with eNCA last year that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan orchestrated his arrest.
“I never accused Gordhan, but he accused me of working with the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) and the Public Protector and said I will see what will happen to me,” he claimed. Gordhan denied the claims, terming them “foolish.”
In December, ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule told Sunday Times that leaders who supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s failed bid for ANC Presidency in 2017 “feel targeted.”
He said, “That’s how those people feel. That’s how Mosebenzi Zwane feels. That’s how Bongo feels.”
Regarding Bongo’s public claim against Gordhan, Magashule confirmed that the NEC had discussed the matter at its meeting in December.
He said the NEC instructed ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa to hold a meeting with the two leaders to resolve their differences.