16 September 1996
ATTORNEY GENERAL SAYS NATIONAL PARTY BLOCKED SOL KERZNER
The Transkei Attorney General has accused the National Party of interfering
to prevent the trial, for alleged bribery, corruption, fraud and perjury,
of hotel and casino magnate Sol Kerzner and his associate, David Bloomberg.
The National Party alleges that a R2m pre-election donation from Sol
Kerzner given to the ANC was in exchange for abandoning the bribery charges
against Kerzner and Bloomberg. But this month, the Transkei Attorney General,
Christo Nel, decisively and publicly dismissed this allegation and put
the blame squarely on the National Party`s shoulders.
Sol Kerzner and David Bloomberg were accused of paying R2m in bribes
in December 1986 and January 1987 to the former Transkei premier Chief
George Matanzima, in exchange for a gambling monopoly in Transkei. In 1988,
Kerzner and Bloomberg admitted the payments to the Harms Commission on
cross-border irregularities, but claimed they were subject to undue pressure
from Chief Matanzima.
In 1990, the Transkei Attorney General began preparations for extradition
against Kerzner and Bloomberg, and forwarded extradition applications to
the National Party Government in 1991.
In 1993 the National Party Government refused to extradite Kerzner and
Bloomberg, on the grounds that there was no case to answer, and the case
was shelved. Following the 1994 elections and the reintegration of Transkei
into South Africa, the case has again been taken up by the Transkei Attorney
National Party Guilty
This month, the Transkei Attorney General`s report into the case against
Kerzner and Bloomberg listed a catalogue of failures and deliberate obstruction
by the National Party. The Transkei Attorney General`s report found that:
- the National Party Government delayed progress for almost two and
a half years by dodging the extradition application lodged by the Transkei
- the National Party Government tried to kill off the case in 1993,
by insisting that there was no case to answer
- the National Party Government prevented the prosecution in Transkei
by refusing to extradite Kerzner and Bloomberg, despite the Transkei Attorney
General`s confidence that there was a case to answer.
The National Party is to blame for the failure to prosecute Kerzner
and Bloomberg before 1994.
The ANC has been blamed for the failure to prosecute Kerzner and Bloomberg
since 1994. But the Attorney General again laid the blame at the door of
the National Party for the delays since the April 1994 elections. He cited:
- the ten-year delay in bringing the case to trial, which means witnesses
may now be unclear about their statements, or may no longer be available
- one key witness has already died in the interim
- the refusal to extradite Kerzner and Bloomberg in 1993 on the grounds
that there was no case to answer, which may make it constitutionally impossible
to reinstitute the prosecution
- the point-blank refusal of FW de Klerk to co-operate with the Justice
Portfolio Committee`s investigation of this matter.
The Attorney General`s report concluded that the ANC has made no
attempt to interfere in the case against Kerzner and Bloomberg. The
facts clearly show that far from hindering progress, the ANC has sought
to ensure that justice is being done.
- ANC Safety and Security Minister Sydney Mufamadi provided the Attorney
General with a new investigating officer so that he could reopen the docket
against Kerzner and Bloomberg
- ANC members of the Justice Portfolio Committee took the lead in
questioning the Attorney General on the lack of progress in the case
- the ANC-led Justice Portfolio Committee has called for a boost in
the Attorney General`s staffing levels to speed up the prosecution.
The decision to pursue a prosecution against Kerzner and Bloomberg
is a decision for the Attorney General and not for the ANC Government.
While the National Party Government was always interfering with the
justice system, the ANC would never seek to interfere with the independence
of the judiciary.
While the ANC is seeking to bring forward the prosecution in the
public interest, the National Party has dragged its heels for ten years.
While the ANC has prompted a Justice Committee investigation into
the delays into the Kerzner prosecution, FW de Klerk refuses to co-operate
with it. What has he got to hide?
While the ANC is seeking to get to the bottom of the delays, the
National Party still refuses to explain its actions. What has it got
While the National Party attacks the ANC for accepting a donation
from Sol Kerzner, it refuses to come clean about its own funding and relationship
with Kerzner. What has it got to hide?