Magistrate Nalini Govender refused a State application for a six-week postponement so it could write up an indictment to have Mpisane tried in the Durban High Court. Handing down her decision on Thursday, she said: “I am not persuaded by the reasons of the State to grant such a long adjournment.”
Prosecutor Wendy O’Brien earlier told the court the State was seeking a six-week postponement to obtain a forensic report, and to allow the deputy director of prosecutions time to examine the case documents in nine lever arch files.
She said KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions (DPP) Sophy Moipone Dinah Noko had authorised that the case against Mpisane proceed in the Durban High Court. Mpisane, who is out on R100,000 bail, faces 53 charges of fraud, forgery, and uttering of a forged document.
She is accused of submitting forged documents to obtain Construction Industry Development Board gradings which were then used to win five public works department tenders worth R140 million.
Govender said the State had failed to take any action since Mpisane’s August 13 court appearance, when the prosecution first announced it intended taking the matter to the high court. There was no “satisfactory explanation” for the State’s inaction.
Govender said there was no justification for the six-week postponement the State requested, and Mpisane would be prejudiced by the “inordinate delay”. The trial was scheduled to start on January 21. The State had to finalise the charges against Mpisane by October 18.
O’Brien asked that the case be heard by another magistrate in another court. Govender said if the State was unhappy with her hearing the case, it could bring an application for her to recuse herself when the trial starts.