The DA has asked for a public explanation as to why charges have been dropped against two KwaZulu-Natal ANC officials implicated in a fraud and corruption case.
Premier Zweli Mkhize should ensure that this happened in the interest of transparency, Democratic Alliance provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu said on Friday.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announced earlier that acting provincial director of public prosecutions Moipone Noko had withdrawn charges against six people, including two ANC officials accused of fraud and corruption in the Intaka case.
"Upon a thorough and interrogative assessment, available evidence including consultations with some key witnesses, the acting DPP in consultation with the prosecution team felt there are no prospects of a successful prosecution; therefore these charges cannot be sustained against them during trial," provincial NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson said.
Charges were dropped against KwaZulu-Natal legislature speaker Peggy Nkonyeni, economic development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, Lindelihle Mkhwanazi, Nozibele Phindela, Jabulani Thusi, and Ian Blose.
Mchunu said: "The DA is extremely disappointed by the decision, which we believe is a further indication of the extremes that the ANC is prepared to go to protect its own."
He said the withdrawal of the charges against Nkonyeni and Mabuyakhulu would leave gaping holes in the State's case and would make a mockery of any effort to bring those implicated in the Intaka scandal to book.
"The message being sent out by the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is increasingly clear; those in positions of power are exempt from the law," Mchunu said.
The six were linked to the sale of water purification plants to the KwaZulu-Natal health department, allegedly at inflated prices.
Initially, 25 people were implicated in the in the so-called "amigos" corruption case, which will be heard on 1 October in the Durban High Court.
The "amigos case" is a corruption matter involving Uruguayan businessman Gaston Savoi.
Savoi's company, Intaka, allegedly paid bribes to ensure that a contract to supply water purifiers and oxygen generators to hospitals, at hugely inflated prices, went its way.
He will go on trial with former provincial treasury boss Sipho Shabalala, who allegedly received a R1-million donation for the ANC.
Noko was appointed in July after KwaZulu-Natal's acting head of prosecutions Simphiwe Mlotshwa was ousted, reportedly for refusing to withdraw the charges against the two politicians.
Meanwhile the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature welcomed the withdrawal of charges.
Deputy Speaker of the legislature Mtholephi Mthimkhulu said the announcement was a positive development and a vindication of Nkonyeni's innocence.
“We, as KZN Legislature, have full confidence in our Speaker and we have always maintained that she was innocent of the charges that were levelled against her,” he said.