As top officials are been fingered in corruption cases lately, a Limpopo municipal manager is among the four prominent municipal employees who will appear before the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court today for allegedly stealing R4.8 million.
The money, which was paid for an agricultural tender illegally awarded to the manager’s wife, was allegedly embezzled by the manager and his cronies between the 2015 and 2016 financial years.
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, popularly known as the Hawks, arrested the municipal manager on Friday following investigations into allegations that he conspired with signatories at the Makgate Community Property Association to irregularly award the tender.
Three other suspects aged between 51 and 70 were arrested over the weekend in relation to the tender. The three include a former member of parliament, a former chairperson of Makgatho Community Property Association and a bank employee.
Captain Matimba Maluleke, spokesperson for the Hawks in Limpopo said the 70-year-old former chairperson for the association was arrested at his home in GaMakgatho village on Friday evening while the 51-year-old bank employee handed himself to the Hawks on Saturday. Maluleke said the former MP was arrested yesterday morning at his home in Kanana village and that the four were expected to appear before the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court today.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) yesterday welcomed the arrests.
Jacques Smalle, DA Limpopo provincial leader said “Limpopo has been marred with maladministration since the province was placed under administration in 2011 after accumulating unauthorised expenditure of R2.7 billion. Over the last decade the province accumulated R15 billion in irregular expenditure – a clear indication that the ruling party is contemptuous of disregarding accountability and the law.
Jacques further said “While we applaud the good work done by the Hawks, we appeal to the unit to also expedite its investigations into politicians and officials involved in the illegal investment of municipal funds into the notorious VBS Mutual Bank.”
The municipal manager’s arrest comes at a time the Hawks also arrested several suspects on Wednesday in connection with the R225 million asbestos audit tender in the Free State. SA Communist Party spokesperson Alex Mashilo lamented that the government has been reduced to a frontier of private capital accumulation through tenders.
He said in a statement that “South Africa needs a capable democratic developmental state with its own internal capacity to serve the people wholeheartedly”.