Former 'Die Son' staffer to plead in fraud case in February
Fraud accused former Die Son sub-editor Janice Ohlson is set for a possible plea and sentencing hearing in February after her legal matter was remanded on Monday.
Her previous lawyer, Luzuko Guma, had already prepared a plea and sentencing agreement with the state earlier this year, but court proceedings were halted when a request came in at the last minute from the office of the director for public prosecutions in Cape Town to review the agreement.
The case ran into a further obstacle three weeks ago when Guma withdrew from the case, leaving Ohlson without legal representation a day before proceedings were set to resume in the Cape Town regional court.
Ohlson is now represented by a Legal Aid attorney.
Ohlson and car company employee Munier Abrahams stand accused on 140 counts of fraud for allegedly creating false work schedules for convicted fraudster Sylvano Hendricks to allow him “free access to commit crimes”.
SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE reported in February that Hendricks, who also goes by the moniker Queenie Madikizela-Malema, an identity he assumed as a drag queen, was allegedly allowed free access to roam the Western Cape due to the liberal work schedule provided to correctional services parole officers by Ohlson and Abrahams.
This was done under the pretense that Hendricks worked for Die Son as a journalist.
Hendricks was released on parole in 2012. A picture on Ohlson's Facebook page shows her with Hendricks under the title "Soljol by Nekkies in Worcester, 31/12/2012".
Ohlson allegedly started creating false work schedules for Hendricks the following month.
In contravention of his parole conditions, in 2014 Hendricks also took part in an ANC roadshow in Mitchell’s Plain where he canvassed support for the party ahead of the national elections.
Sources suggest Hendricks was at the time part of a contingent of local entertainers who were brought in as part of a campaign by then provincial ANC chairman Marius Fransman.
Fransman was contacted by TimesLIVE but said he preferred not to comment.
After Hendricks was rearrested in December 2016, he served his remaining sentence and has since been released.
Guma previously told TimesLIVE he did not want to comment about his withdrawal from the matter.
Die Son editor Andrew Koopman resigned in 2018 shortly after Ohlson was arrested in the Media24 offices in Cape Town.
The case is expected to be heard on February 7 for a possible plea and sentencing hearing.