The Gauteng Division of the High Court sitting in Pretoria has dismissed with costs Pretoria-based businessman Dr John Marite’s request to compel the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) to change the team investigating him.
Marite, a doctor, is one of the individuals under investigation by the SIU for their alleged involvement in the multimillion-dollar wrongdoing at the National Lottery Commission (NLC).
His company, Right Play Health Services, was investigated after receiving around R7.2 million from Zibsimode NPC, a non-profit organization with ties to former NLC board chairperson Alfred Nevhutanda.
Zibsimode got approximately R20.2 million in grant funds from the NLC in 2017 for implementing a public campaign and culturally sensitive medical intervention projects to achieve traditional circumcision practice. Marite was assigned a subcontract to perform male circumcision.
The investigation also revealed that Zibsimode contributed around R3 million to constructing a mansion linked to South African actress Moitheri “Terry” Pheto.
Although the probe began four years ago, Marite applied to the court on August 5 this year, stating that the SIU investigation team was harassing him and that a new investigation team was needed.
According to the SIU, Marite also requested that the court issue an injunction against Ndzuku Trading business owner Malwandla Solly Siweya, a respondent to Marite’s court suit against the SIU.
He alleged that Siweya, one of the people who received three payments totaling R4.1 million from Zibsimode, was also harassing him.
It is unknown how Siweya harassed Marite. His affidavit stated that “Mr. Siweya did not directly threaten him or his family.” But he told him how to answer questions at the SIU, which he did out of terror.”
Acting Judge Hein Snyman stated in his decision that Marite’s application against the SIU was founded on suspicion.
“He has so far sought relief that the SIU be directed how it should conduct its investigations. He failed to set out a case and, upon analysis, to present the entire case from the outset based on suspicions and innuendo without having any prospects of success.
“The applicant’s application against the second respondent is dismissed with costs. The application against the third and fourth responses is dismissed with costs on the scale as between attorney and client, including the costs occasioned by the employment of two counsels,” found Snyman.
SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago welcomed the High Court ruling.
“When [Marite] failed to answer questions from SIU investigators, he approached the High Court to seek an order for SIU to change its NLC investigation team and interfere in the way the Unit conducts its investigations.
“The ruling paves the way for the unit to finalise its investigation relating to the R7.2 million received by Dr. Marite and ensures the independence of the SIU is not compromised,” said Kganyago.