‘Don’t bother Bobani – he’s a businessman’
Bay mayor available to answer questions on toilets but not regarding Hawks’ raid on his office, attorney says
Do not contact my client, he is a businessman running arguably the biggest business in the Eastern Cape.
That was the directive from attorney Danie Gouws, who is representing Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani.
Bobani has stonewalled questions around a visit by the Hawks to his office this week.
Investigators from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (the Hawks) swooped on the Port Elizabeth City Hall, seizing computers and documents after handing Bobani a search warrant.
The mayor has since repeatedly rebuffed attempts by the media to get him to comment on the raid.
Since news of the raid broke, Bobani has remained uncharacteristically mum, turning off his phone for hours.
Questions e-mailed and sent via WhatsApp have gone unanswered since Wednesday.
At a dinner at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday night, Bobani refused to answer questions from a Weekend Post reporter.
“I don’t comment about that – I am now here busy with the launch and I am not going to comment anything on the Hawks,” he said.
The raid is believed to be linked to the city’s beleaguered Integrated Public Transport System, through which hundreds of millions of rands were squandered.
Earlier this week, national Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said they were investigating fraud, corruption and money laundering, but declined to elaborate.
The questions sent to Bobani by the Weekend Post which went unanswered were:
Why did the Hawks visit your office specifically?
We understand they served you with a search warrant. What were they searching for?
Did they seize any documents and computers in your office and of your support staff?
Have you co-operated with the investigators? and
Is this investigation linked to the IPTS investigation of the Hawks? Did they provide any details?
After days of no response to questions from Weekend Post, Bobani’s attorney Gouws said on Friday: “We have no comment on the questions.
“We have consulted senior counsel and they have confirmed he’s not a suspect.
“Any further questions must be directed to me. I want to ask you not to contact my client at all,” Gouws said.
“My phone is on 24 hours a day. If you have any questions, phone me. But don’t bother my client. He’s a businessman who is a very busy man.”
Asked what he meant by businessman, Gouws said the municipality was arguably the province’s biggest business.
Asked why Bobani did not want to take the public he serves into his confidence and simply explain what the Hawks wanted from him, Gouws said: “It’s not that my client is not taking the public into his confidence, no-one knows what’s going on.
“But what we can say is that he’s not a suspect.
“If you have questions about toilets and other things then you can contact him”.
The raid is believed to be linked to the city’s beleaguered Integrated Public Transport System, through which hundreds of millions of rands were squandered