Former activist organisation manager pleads guilty to fraud

SJC’s Xolani Klaas enters into a plea agreement after defrauding the organisation of more than R730,000

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Xolani Klaas appeared at the Khayelitsha Magistrate Court on Monday. Archive photo: Mary-Anne Gontsana

Former Social Justice Coalition (SJC) general manager and fraud accused Xolani Klaas entered into a plea and sentence agreement in the Khayelitsha Magistrates Court on Monday.

Klaas faces charges related to fraud in excess of R730,000.

Last year, GroundUp reported that Klaas appeared to be using SJC funds to buy furniture, household appliances, luxury clothes, watches, groceries, and expensive technology.

Klaas was subsequently suspended and in June 2022 SJC staff laid criminal charges against him at Lingelethu West Police Station. Klaas then returned some furniture, purchased using SJC money, to the organisation’s offices.

Klaas’s lawyer, Loyiso Mvundla, said the plea and sentence agreement had been reached with Klaas on Friday.

“Your worship, my client has agreed to a plea and we are now at the stage of finalising everything with the state,” said Mvundla.

Standing firmly in the dock, with his hands behind him, Klaas nodded while Mvundla addressed the magistrate.

The SJC’s office adminstrator Thando Njamela, who was one of the witnesses before the plea and sentence agreement was reached, said: “I’m happy about the outcome so far, but anxious to know how things will go from here on out. Will he pay the money back? Will he get jail time?

“This is also a big thing for the communities that the SJC works with. When we reported to them about today’s proceeding there was a sense of happiness. If anything, this has given us hope that maybe we can become the SJC that we once were,” said Njamela.

The details of the plea agreement, and sentencing, are set for 17 July.

TOPICS:  Fraud

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