Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2004-05-17 Reporter: Ingrid Oellerman

Ngcuka Faces Jail in Contempt Case, Court Says



Cape Times

Date 2004-05-17


Ingrid Oellermann

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Durban - National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka may not even be aware of a high court action about cattle seized by the Asset Forfeiture Unit in October, but he could find himself in jail for contempt of court for his staff's conduct.

Acting Justice King Ndlovu said this as he adjourned Howick cattle trader Pramash Sewraj's application for the Pietermaritzburg High Court to find Ngcuka and attorney Jeremy Diedricks guilty of contempt of court for failing to comply with a March 5 court order to return more than 100 cattle.

Diedricks had been appointed to care for the cattle.

Stock theft charges against Sewraj, his two brothers and five other people were withdrawn, clearing the way for the animals to be returned.

Knorx Mollele, for Ngcuka, told the court that money owing to the pound master for the cattle's upkeep had been paid and the livestock were being returned to the Sewraj farm.

Lawrence Combrink, for Sewraj, argued that this did not allow Ngcuka and Diedricks off the hook for having failed to return the cattle within three days of the March 5 order and failing to file affidavits by May 12 in response to the contempt of court application.

Acting Judge Ndlovu said the NDPP and Diedricks's excuses were not acceptable. In postponing the case to May 28, he said he was mindful of the "drastic consequences" that could flow from a finding that the national director of public prosecutions and Diedricks were in contempt.

"It would not be people (of) the Asset Forfeiture Unit who would go to jail ... it would be Mr Bulelani Ngcuka."

With acknowledgements to Ingrid Oellermann and the Cape Times.