EFF MP's laptop 'theft' case could be struck from roll if delayed further

EFF MP Nazier Paulsen may be free of the laptop theft charge he faces if the State does not sort out delays caused by recent changes in the Western Cape legislature by the time he appears in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court again.

"I will remove this matter from the roll," Magistrate Reaz Khan said on Wednesday, as Paulsen's case dragged on.

Prosecutor Cecil Engel explained that the holdup was due to a change in the Western Cape legislature following the May 8 general elections.

Emails between former speaker, Sharna Fernandez, and Paulsen are required, but Fernandez is now the Social Development MEC. This means she no longer has access to her previous IT system and this is delaying collecting the emails between the two on the matter.

In court on Wednesday, Khan paged through the case file and wanted to know why the matter was taking so long.

"Why is this case still standing on the roll since 2017?" he asked.

Engel responded that the delays were due to representations Paulsen had made to the prosecuting authority, which recommended the trial be held in a regional court, as well as the email issue.

"I am honestly not willing to keep this matter on my roll any longer," Khan said.

Paulsen made a low-key appearance in the dock on Wednesday, in a white button-up shirt and blue blazer, instead of the red overalls the EFF members wear to Parliament.

He worked at the legislature between 2014 and 2015 before going to Parliament, News24 reported previously.

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When he left, he allegedly did not return the laptop immediately because he was travelling and wanted to remove any personal data that may have been on it.

He said he returned the laptop but was still charged with theft.

The matter was postponed to July 11.