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Are the recent arrests of prominent figures due to political pressure?

At least two political analysts have differing views on the reasons and expected outcomes of the recent arrest of ANC MP Bongani Bongo and 10 officials from an EC municipality.

FILE: Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said despite having an NPA head who has integrity, the coordinated nature of this week’s arrests has raised suspicion. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Political analysts are divided on whether this week’s arrests of several high-profile people by the Hawks was the result of political pressure.

There have been growing calls from citizens for perpetrators of state capture and other crimes against the state to be prosecuted and for assets to be seized.

However, given the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) track record of going after political opponents in the past, there are concerns around this week’s blitz.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said despite having an NPA head who has integrity, the coordinated nature of this week’s arrests has raised suspicion.

“Characteristically, these people fall within the classification of former President Jacob Zuma’s allies.”

African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament and chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs, Bongani Bongo, was granted R5,000 bail after he was arrested on corruption charges.

The Hawks also swooped on 10 government officials linked to a dodgy toilet tender in the Eastern Cape.

Political analyst Lukhona Mnguni said given the political landscape, there could never be certainty when it came to potential interference.

“There senior political figures in our country that have friends and all sorts of associates within the criminal justice network and they leverage on these.”

The prosecuting authority said the investigation into the Estina Dairy Farm would be completed this month, meaning more political figures could be in handcuffs.

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