Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban - The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) has thrown its supports behind the arrest of nine individuals, including two eThekwini municipal officials, for their alleged involvement in a multi-million rand waste tender fraud scheme.

The IWMSA has also recently reported four municipalities to the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) for mismanaging landfills.

Leon Grobbelaar, the president of IWMSA said they took a strong stance towards ethical governance and will therefore always report any illegal activity pertaining to waste management.

“In South Africa the mismanagement of tax payers’ money on waste services is clearly visible in our country. In the past 20 years the IWMSA has seen a drastic decline in municipal memberships which may be one of the reasons for the decline in proper management of municipal waste,” Grobbelaar said. 

“The IWMSA can assist municipalities in verifying reputable waste contractors. If municipalities insist that all tenderers belong to the IWMSA we can ensure that the tenderers operate in line with the Code of Ethics. The IWMSA’s Code of Ethics states that all members should abide by the Constitution, including section 24, which is protecting everyone’s environmental right. The recent reported activity is in breach of the Constitution and Section 24. The numerous waste experts that form part of the IWMSA’s membership can guide municipalities and evaluate if rates tendered are in line with national standards,” Grobbelaar added.

DSW deputy head Robert Abbu, the city’s supply chain deputy manager Sandile Ngcobo and municipal contractor Hlenga Sibisi were arrested together with six other city contractors by police.

The other six suspects were released on bail while Abbu, Ngcobo and Sibisi were released on R50000 bail each. 

Speaking in the Durban Commercial Crime Court State prosecutor Ashika Luckan alleged that substantial amounts of money which had been received from the municipality for refuse removal had been transferred from Sibisi’s business account to about 62 city councillors and the Delangokubona Business Forum.

Sibisi is the project manager for Ilangalamahlase, a company contracted to the city for the past three years to remove refuse and rubble from KwaMashu.

Durban Solid Waste (DSW) alleged to be on the receiving end of the fraudulent waste tender is a patron member of the IWMSA. 

Grobbelaar explained that the IWMSA’s constitution dictates that they will not suspend any individual, organisation, or patron member unless there are grounds on which it is found that the said member has harmed the environment in which it operates maliciously. 

“Member transgressions are dealt with on a case by case basis and take into consideration the merits of the specific transgression, and we will continue to monitor the findings of the Commercial Crimes Court on this matter,” Grobbelaar said.

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