Former EPRU firebrand gets his day in court
NEWS: Political firebrand and former Eastern Province Rugby Union deputy president Bantwini Matika has appeared in court, after being arrested for fraud.
Matika, who was at the hearty of the outcry against former Springbok coach Nick Mallett in 2019, was arrested with four others on charges of fraud and money laundering this week.
According to the HeraldLIVE website the five people were accused of trying to defraud the EPRU and the National Lotteries Board.
They have been granted bail of between ZAR500 and ZAR1,000 each.
Matika, former EPRU club affairs manager John Scheepers, suspended vice-president Eldrige Februarie, businesswoman Xoliswa Mbengu, and a Loerie resident who allegedly ‘loaned’ his banking details for illicit transactions, Johnny Oersen, appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
They were arrested earlier in the day.
According to the website, the case has been transferred to the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court, where the accused will appear on March 8.
Matika, in 2019, succeeded in eliminating Mallett from the decision-making process at the now-defunct Southern Kings.
Matika, at the time also a board member of the Kings, launched a hellacious media campaign against Mallett, after he became aware that the former Springbok coach was to serve on the panel that will decide on a prospective new coach for the Eastern Cape franchise.
Matika, in social media posts and subsequent media interviews, launched a stinging attack on his own franchise for attempting to use Mallett to assist the panel.
In a racist Facebook rant, he labelled Mallett a racist and said his help was not needed to find a replacement for axed coach Deon Davids.
He also accused the then Kings Chairman Loyiso Dotwana of not knowing rugby and relying on what he said were ‘white liberal brains’ to help him.
It is alleged that in December 2019, the five accused operated as a syndicate with a common purpose to defraud the union and the National Lotteries Board of more than ZAR450,000.
It is alleged that a false invoice, for the hiring of sports fields in the name of Local Lawncare and Landscaping, purportedly with its business address in Cradock, was created in the amount of ZAR283,000.
The details on the invoice were, however, false in that it allegedly portrayed the banking details of Oersen, who had no business relationship with either Local Lawncare or the union.
It later transpired the business address in Cradock was also false.
A further invoice in the name of Mbengu’s catering business, Noxie General Trading (Pty) Ltd, was later issued in the amount of ZAR174,060 for catering services.
The state alleges the services claimed for were similarly never rendered.
After resigning in May 2020, when charges of misappropriation of funds were levelled against him, Matika later attempted to be reinstated in his position on the EPRU board.