Corrupt KZN prosecutor gets five-year jail term

Suthentira Govender Senior reporter
Zanele Molefe, who was a district court prosecutor at the time of the 2015 offence, was handed the sentence in the Camperdown regional court. Stock photo.
Zanele Molefe, who was a district court prosecutor at the time of the 2015 offence, was handed the sentence in the Camperdown regional court. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/LUKAS GOJDA

A KwaZulu-Natal prosecutor has been sentenced to an effective five years’ imprisonment for corruption, theft and defeating the course of justice.

Zanele Molefe, who was a district court prosecutor at the time of the 2015 offence, was handed the sentence in the Camperdown regional court.

Natasha Kara, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in KwaZulu-Natal, said Molefe has since been dismissed.

“She is sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for corruption, three of which are for defeating the course of justice. The sentences for theft and defeating will run concurrently with the corruption sentence.

“The matter refers to an incident that took place in May 2015, when Molefe was based at the Mooi River magistrate’s court.

“A man named Philani Hlela had driven into the glass doors of a convenience store, damaging the doors. The owner of the store, Donovan Carter, opened a case of malicious injury to property and Molefe was allocated the case.”

According to Kara, Molefe asked Hlela for R1,000 “to make the case go away”.

“He paid her the money. Thereafter, in an alternate dispute resolution mediation between the two parties, Molefe advised Carter there was not enough evidence to proceed with the matter.

“Carter then approached Hlela, asking him if he was denying the allegations against him. Hlela said he was not and offered to pay for the damages.

“The two men agreed that a sum of R10,000 would resolve the matter. Hlela asked for a week to gather the amount.”

Kara said three weeks later Carter met Hlela at a petrol station and asked him why he had not paid the money.

The correct procedure was that Molefe should have made the arrangements via the court system instead of accepting the money in her personal capacity.
Natasha Kara, NPA spokesperson

Hlela told Carter he had paid the R10,000 to Molefe three weeks earlier.

“She had phoned him and said she would collect the money which she would pass on to Carter. He had met her outside the court building and gave her the money in a plastic packet, which she put into her purse.

“The correct procedure was that Molefe should have made the arrangements via the court system instead of accepting the money in her personal capacity.

“Carter then went to Molefe’s office and confronted her about the money. She told him she had spent it but agreed to pay him instalments of R 2,500, which she did.”

In aggravation of sentence, prosecutor Sharlene Lupke told the court Molefe had abused her position of trust and failed to deliver on her mandate as a prosecutor.

Kara said the Asset Forfeiture Unit had secured a confiscation order to the value of R4,000.

“This amount will go into the Criminal Asset Recovery Account, where funds recovered from the proceeds of crime are deposited into and then used in the fight against crime.”

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