About 10 people and four entities appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court. Five were employed by the municipality, and of those only one was still in its employ. They face a string of charges including fraud, corruption and money laundering.
They were each granted bail of between R2 000 and R5 000 and are expected back in court on November 9.
According to the charge sheet, the State alleges that between December 2016 and February last year, the accused funnelled about R1.3 million of council funds, as payments to entities for tenders for projects that were never done or existed.
The entities named in the charge sheet are Njakane Pty Ltd, Yemuyemu Construction Projects, Griffitts Solutions and Wutu Trading and Projects.
Vuyokazi Mfeqa, who is still employed by the municipality as a director of revenue, is implicated in eight of the 14 counts.
It is alleged that Mfeqa invited service providers to submit their bids and assisted in the payment of invoices.
The State alleges that she did this knowing the service providers did not render any service to the municipality.
She further solicited money from service providers, which was to be paid into her own account.
Another main role player, according to the State, was Dumisani Mzolo, who was employed at the municipality as a project manager, in the infrastructure department.
“It is alleged that he acted with his colleagues to award fraudulent contracts to service providers who did not render any service to the municipality,” it said.
Another municipal employer charged, Raymond Hadebe, was an acquisition manager at the municipality and was responsible for procuring goods.
“It is alleged that he assisted the service providers to get unlawful contracts and further assisted in the payment of their invoices knowing they did not render any service to the municipality,” says the charge sheet.
Also implicated are husband and wife, Wesley and Anthea Adams.
Anthea had been employed as administration manager at the infrastructure department of the municipality.
“She assisted the service providers by processing all the documents that the service providers have rendered service knowing that no service was rendered, and solicited money from service providers to pay into her husband and sister’s business accounts,” says the charge sheet.
In a statement Harry Gwala District Municipality spokesperson Ndabezitha Tenza said that the projects claimed for were “ghost projects”.
“We will continue to fight against corruption where it exists in the municipality.
“Only one person remains in the employ of the council, and we will be taking action against that person,” he said.
ANC Regional spokesperson Thabiso Zulu said they were encouraged by the arrests and the work of the Hawks.
“The ANC Regional Executive Committee collective will do everything in its powers to support law enforcement agencies in their efforts to root out fraud and corruption,” said Zulu.