14 July 2024 | 12:00 AM

NPA withdraws charges against Wa Afrika

Key Takeaways

The National Prosecuting Authority provisionally withdrew all charges against Sunday Times investigative journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika on Tuesday morning.

In a letter from state advocate Shaun Abrahams to Wa Afrika’s lawyer Eric van den Berg, Abrahams wrote that he had decided to withdraw all charges against the journalist.

‘Police investigations will however continue and a decision whether or not to prosecute will be taken upon conclusion of such investigations,” Abrahams wrote.

Wa Afrika was arrested at the Sunday Times’s Rosebank office on August 4. After notebooks dating back 11 years, computers and cellphones were seized from his Johannesburg house, a handcuffed Wa Afrika was driven to Mpumalanga where he was detained in police custody.

On August 6 he appeared in the Nelspruit Regional Court with Mpumalanga government official Victor Mlimi on charges of fraud, forgery and uttering. The case relates to a forged resignation letter by Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said in a statement on Tuesday evidential material was submitted by the police to the NPA. “After perusing the case docket we are of the view that it is desirable that the matter be fully investigated prior to taking a decision on whether or not to prosecute. We therefore deem it appropriate that the charges be provisionally withdrawn pending further investigations.”

Once the investigations have been concluded, the docket will be re-submitted to the NPA.

The case against Wa Afrika will formally be withdrawn in Nelspruit on Wednesday.

In reaction, Wa Afrika said he was relieved. “This whole thing was just a gross abuse of power and of taxpayers’ money.” Wa Afrika and his legal team are preparing a damages claim against the police for wrongful arrest.

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Before joining the amaBhungane team in 2017, Micah was the national coordinator for media freedom and diversity at the Right2Know Campaign. He holds a Masters in African Studies from Oxford University and a BA Honours in History from Wits University.

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