Over 100 people marched angrily outside the Nelspruit Magistrates Court on Thursday as Bobby Motaung, manager of one of South Africa’s most celebrated football clubs – Kaizer Chiefs, faced charges of corruption and fraud.
Protesters were seen wearing a mix of ANC and South African Communist Party t-shirts, and held posters that read “Stop Corruption” and “Who killed Jimmy?” – a reference to a local politician gunned down in 2009.
Arrested on Wednesday, Mr Motaung and Herbert Theledi, a fellow director of Lefika Emerging Equity attended court yesterday where one count of fraud of R143 million and a second count of theft of R1million were announced.
According to The Hawks, the elite police unit which arrested the pair, Lefika submitted false tax documents embellishing the company’s credentials in order to win the tender for Mbombela Stadium.
Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela said that they had “unravelled the entire bidding process and interviewed officials and the bidders to find out where corruption happened and who was involved.”
Both Motaung and Theledi were released on bail for R50,000 each as the case was postponed until October 15th.
Mbombela stadium, which seats just under 41,000, has been a talking point since construction began in 2007.
Designed for the 2010 World Cup, two schools were forced to relocate for a stadium that only hosted 4 matches during the tournament.
In 2009 Jimmy Mohlala, then Mbombela Municipality Speaker, was shot dead outside his home after he blew the whistle on corruption concerning the stadium’s tender process.
Chris Grib, CEO of Lefika fled South Africa later that year after it emerged that the company was being investigated by the state’s Revenue Service for tax evasion.
In 2010, another municipal sports official was killed in his bed.
Five men had been arrested in relation to Mr Mohlala’s death but all charges were withdrawn in January this year.
From now until October it certainly looks to be a testing time for Bobby Motaung, whose father Kaizer Motaung founded the Johannesburg club – it seems the rock lads from Leeds were bang on.