Why eThekwini city manager escaped jail
Durban - ETHEKWINI municipal manager Sipho Nzuza escaped spending the duration of the court case against him behind bars on Monday after the State and his lawyers reached an agreement to make amendments to his bail conditions, making it clear that should he violate them in future, his bail will be withdrawn.
The Daily News reported early this month that Nzuza was involved with supply chain management and bid adjudication committee matters despite his bail conditions, and had seen more than 10 documents of the above-mentioned units with Nzuza’s signatures.
The contracts involved in the documents were worth over R40 million. Nzuza was suspended by the eThekwini Council for three months earlier this year after he was arrested on allegations of maladministration, financial misconduct and corruption.
After his suspension had lapsed, he agreed to take three months’ leave. In September, he returned to City Hall.
Nzuza was rearrested yesterday by the Hawks for violating his bail conditions and appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court.
Judge Garth Davis said that often such cases against high profile individuals took longer in court.
Nzuza is alleged to have violated his bail conditions by signing tenders and chairing four virtual meetings in which people who are witnesses in the case against him participated. Granting the amendments of his bail application, Judge Davis ordered Nzuza to refrain from accessing information/ documents or reports from any official of the municipality relating to the investigation into the case he is facing.
He is to refrain from being involved with the disciplinary processes of officials of the municipality charged in the same case.
He was also ordered not to access information relating to this investigation, not to participate directly or influence in any tender processes during the investigation, and that his powers in relation to tender processes must be delegated to someone else.
“These conditions are now in place, they are not to punish you, but the court wants to prevent certain things from happening.
Bail conditions come with something that cannot be bought with money,” said Judge Davis.
He said there was enough evidence brought before him when he signed Nzuza’s warrant of arrest early last week.
Judge Davis extended Nzuza’s bail until December 10 when he is expected to appear before the same court.
Nzuza’s lawyers argued during his court bid to prevent the court from withdrawing his bail, that it was not clear from the set of bail conditions that he was prohibited from conducting these duties which are the responsibility of a municipal manager.
State prosecutor Hazel Siraramen questioned investigating officer Colonel Ngoako Mphaki, who told the court that he was alerted to allegations that Nzuza was in violation of his bail conditions by some NGOs.
Mphaki said a subsequent investigation into the allegations established that Nzuza, on return to his office, had instructed the city’s head of security to restore his previous access.
Mphaki said that he interviewed city officials and found that Nzuza had been in communication with witnesses in the case.
Nzuza’s legal representative, advocate Ndoda Madonsela, told the court that he and the State had reached an agreement to have Nzuza’s bail conditions amended.