Johannesburg – Metro FM deejay Dineo Ranaka has thrown Idols judge and cohost Somizi Mhlongo under the bus in his case against Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula.
Ranaka, who is expected to be a state witness, was subpoenaed by the National Prosecuting Authority to answer questions in relation to the case of misinformation or spreading of fake news opened by Mbalula at Sandton police station last year.
Mbalula opened a case against Mhlongo for allegedly breaching the disaster management regulations related to “information dissemination and misinformation”.
Hours before President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown would be extended until the end of April 2020, Mhlongo had asserted in an Instagram video that Mbalula had given him a heads-up about the extension.
Mhlongo subsequently apologised to Mbalula for his “joke”, but Mbalula still proceeded to lay charges against him.
The startling news that Ranaka had given a differing view from that of Mhlongo was revealed by a law agent who did not want to be named because they were not allowed to speak to the media. The source said the matter started when Mhlongo, in his preparation for the trial, made representations through his lawyers in which he said that he was only joking when he said Mbalula informed him that Ramaphosa was going to put the country on alert level 2 of lockdown.
The mole, who is close to the case, said Ranaka has in the statement sent to the prosecutors contradicted Mhlongo’s version of events.
She said, added the agent, Mhlongo did not indicate immediately that he was joking when he made the announcement.
Ranaka, according to the deepthroat, told prosecutors that she was chatting to her fans on Instagram Live when Mhlongo chimed in uninvited and made the announcement.
She said Mhlongo only announced later that his remarks about Mbalula and the lockdown were a bad joke and later apologised to the politician.
“That is the problem because he only said he was joking later. So, Dineo couldn’t lie under oath because she could be charged with perjury. She had to tell the truth,” said the agent.
However, the apology was not enough for Mbalula, who retaliated by opening a case against him.
Somizi handed himself at the Sandton police station in April last year and was later released on R1000 bail.
He is expected back in court soon. The source said the hearing is likely to be delayed as Ranaka’s and Mhlongo’s lawyers were raising questions about the legalities of hearing the case at the Randburg magistrate’s court.
“First, they argued that Mbalula was not supposed t o have been allowed to open t he case at Sandton police station because the alleged offence happened in Auckland Park, where Metro FM or SABC studios are located.
“They said the case was supposed to have been opened at at Brixton police station or Johannesburg Central police station. They also said the Randburg magistrate’s court does not have jurisdiction to hear this case and they want it to be heard in the Johannesburg magistrate’s court.
“So, this might actually derail the trial or the hearing as they want to push that the matter does not belong there and it should be transferred to Joburg [magistrate] court,” said the source.
National Prosecuting Authority South Gauteng spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane couldn’t confirm or deny that Ranaka has contradicted Somizi’s version of events, but said the prosecutors have subpoenaed her to answer certain questions.
She said Ranaka has been instructed to answer the prosecutors’ questions by end of business tomorrow.
Ranaka declined to comment and said the matter is subjudice.
Mbalula too, declined to comment, while Somizi ignored our phone calls and messages.
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