Analysis

Afriforum & Agrizzi Expose Government Incompetence

By Pinky Khoabane

SIX years after the murder of Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, the South African Police Service (SAPS) finally announced a breakthrough yesterday. Well, it was one of many but this one, followed the intervention of Afriforum’s private prosecutions unit and was “water tight”. 

The police announced there were five arrests made and they had a strong case. Well, we’ve heard that one before also but what is new is that the murder wasn’t a robbery gone bad as has been claimed by the police in past years, but that in fact it was an assassination. 

The five accused appeared in court this morning and they have all denied being party to Meyiwa’s death and refused to enter the dock. They’ve also refused legal representation saying they are not Meyiwa’s murderers. They’ve also disputed SAPS’ statements that they were arrested yesterday. Some maintain they’ve been in custody for some time.

It’s already turning out to be complicated, not to mention embarrassing, as both the police and Afriforum have claimed to have a strong case this time – “water tight” is how they described it, even though Afriforum was disappointed that the “mastermind” was not part of the five suspects. Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole  is reported as saying they have arrested the “right people” this time. Well, we shall see…It’s not looking great at the moment. 

Elsewhere, the self-confessed corrupt racist, Angelo Agrizzi, having been denied bail two weeks ago in the corruption case involving former ANC MP Vincent Smith, suddenly had major health complications which required medical attention. Ironically, the correctional services department, from where Bosasa raked-in hundreds of millions through government tenders, wasn’t adequate for the lying Italian. After spending one day in prison he was transferred to a public hospital – Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital. 

There too, the facilities were not equipped to deal with his “deteriorating health”. And the doctors there seemed to agree and he was sent off to a private hospital. 

During his bail application in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on 14 October, Agrizzi had arrived with a portable oxygen pump which his lawyers said he needed to help him breathe. This was the master of deception at his best, using his “medical condition” as the reason why he couldn’t remain in custody despite having lied to authorities about having a second passport and transferring millions of rands to his offshore accounts. 

At the private hospital, Agrizzi’s condition seemed to get worse – he missed another corruption trial and yesterday’s bail hearing to overturn the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s court’s decision that rejected his bail application. 

Reading a letter from his doctors, his lawyer laid out a litany of Agrizzi’s health conditions. He was in the intensive care unit, he said, had diabetes, had hypertension, was breathing through a ventilator and was likely to contract Covid-19 if he was sent back to prison. 

Agrizzi is accused of having bribed politicians and state functionaries to get government tenders. In Smith’s case, Agrizzi is accused of paying him over R800,000 while Smith was chairman of Parliament’s portfolio committee on correctional services. 

Both cases speak volumes about the incompetence of our state. That the Meyiwa’s had to turn to a private prosecutions unit of Afriforum of all organisations, is telling. That the doctors at Bara, Africa’s biggest hospital, conceded they had no facilities to administer medical assistance to Agrizzi says a lot about the public healthcare system in our country – simply shameful. 

 

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