UPDATE | Law must take its course regarding Makwarela: COPE

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COPE says it believes the law must take its course after the Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria granted the former Tshwane executive mayor, Dr Murunwa Makwarela, R10 000 bail.

The court says Makwarela is not a flight risk but has warned him that he must not tamper with witnesses. The court has ordered that he should hand in his passport to the investigating officer before the end of business on Tuesday.

Makwarela resigned as a mayor last month, following allegations that he submitted a false rehabilitation certificate, relating to his 2016 insolvency status. The Constitution doesn’t permit anyone with an insolvency status to occupy public office.

He handed himself to the police this morning. The case has been postponed to the 2nd of May for further investigations.

COPE’s Regional Spokesperson Brian Mkhono says, “Dr Makwarela has resigned as a member of COPE. He is facing the court of law which will have to ventilate the matter as it stands. Be that as it may, we want to believe in the competencies of our criminal justice system. We hope that Makwarela, as he is having his day in court, will eventually be charged on what evidence is presented before the court.

Former Tshwane executive mayor Makwarela granted bail:

‘Charges are very serious’

Dr Makwarela will now have to repay the R1.4 million that he was renumerated while in the employ of the City as a mayor, councillor and speaker.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)’s Lumka Mahanjana says the charges are very serious given the amount of money he was paid during his brief stay as a mayor, speaker as well as former COPE and PR councillor.

“Dr Makwarela appeared today at the Pretoria Specialized Commercials Court. He is facing charges of fraud. It is a schedule 5 case. Is a serious offense. Simply because of the amount of money that he was renumerated when he was employed at Tshwane. As a speaker and also as a councillor. It is just over R1.4. The matter will come back to court on the 2nd of May. For the disclosure of the docket. And for consultation between him and his legal representation.”

HAWKS spokesperson, Katlego Mogale has dismissed perceptions of possible political interference in their investigations.

“The hawks have been investigating without fear of favour. But the investigation is currently regarding the origin of the said certificate.”