The IFP believes that last year's delayed arrest and now the withdrawal of criminal charges against KZN Speaker Peggy Nkonyeni and MEC for Economic Development and Tourism Michael Mabuyakhulu in the high-profile 'Amigos' case point to political interference in the legal process.
"The personnel changes in the National Prosecuting Authority last month were nothing but a prelude to the withdrawal of criminal charges against two senior ANC office bearers in KZN known to be supporters of President Jacob Zuma," said Leader of the Official Opposition in KZN Blessed Gwala MPL.
The IFP notes that this is the second time criminal charges have been dropped under dubious circumstances against the Speaker of the KZN Legislature whose previous tenure as MEC for Health was riddled with controversy and led to a multi-billion rand overdraft in the entire provincial budget.
"Nkonyeni and Mabuyakhulu are well-known supporters of President Zuma's second term in the highest office and there is little doubt that their loyalty to this cause has now been rewarded through political interference by the ruling party in the work of the NPA," said Gwala.
The IFP promptly called for Nkonyeni's and Mabuyakhulu's suspension from their positions in the provincial legislature and the provincial government at the time of their arrest in connection with the corruption and bribery case against businessman and ANC donor Gaston Savoi.
"The fact that the ANC stood by Nkonyeni and Mabuyakhulu in the face of overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing was an early indication of the ruling party's determination to pull all the stops in its effort to have the criminal charges against its two senior office bearers dropped," said Gwala.
The IFP also notes the broader implications of the politically-motivated withdrawal of criminal charges against the two high-ranking ANC office bearers for the KZN provincial government's flagging fight against corruption. "The ANC-led provincial government cannot fight corruption in KZN simply because its hands are tied," said Gwala.