Wife of ANC KZN heavyweight who is now MPL implicated in R140K tender fraud
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Durban - The wife of an ANC eThekwini heavyweight who is now a member of the KZN provincial legislature has been implicated in a R140 000 fraudulent payment that got the head of eThekwini parks and recreation department, Thembinkosi Ngcobo fired.
Amanda Bani is the wife of William Mapena, the former speaker of the eThekwini municipality and former ANC eThekwini deputy regional chairperson who was fired in August 2019 together with Zandile Gumede. That was when the ANC conducted an overhaul of the political leadership of the troubled council.
Bani is now a member of the provincial legislature on the ticket of the ANC and she started her work following the May 2019 provincial and national government elections.
Before taking the political deployment, Bani was working as IDP (Integrated Development Plan) manager in the department headed by Ngcobo who was fired on Monday. While she was working for the municipality, Bani was the eThekwini region chairperson of the ANC youth league and she resigned when the investigation started.
According to the 52-page letter of dismissal sent to Ngcobo by the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC), Bani authorised the payment of R140 000 to a service provider, Thulasizwe Ngcobo (not related to Thembinkosi), the managing director of Perstha (Pty) Ltd.
Perstha was tasked with providing a sound system and marquee for a beach festival on September 5, 2015.
"Two employees and a Ms Amanda Bani ("Bani") – the Integrated Development Plan Manager in the unit – were involved in activities that resulted therein that the complainant was able to submit the invoice and receive payment for the work which he had not performed. It is common cause that Bani had also resigned from the Municipality," reads part of the Salga report later leaked to Independent Media.
In the same report, Bani was implicated when a junior officer who has since resigned from the municipality told investigators under oath that Bani knew that the payment was fraudulent.
“She (the junior officer) told the investigators that "Bani fraudulently approved that payment which was a total amount of R140,000.00 to be made to Perstha knowing very well that Perstha did not render any services during the beach festival,” the report noted.
In its report finding, it said “Findings in respect of Bani: Her actions were tantamount to fraud in that: She made a misrepresentation to the employer by collecting invoices from service providers for services not rendered. Payments that were made as a consequence resulted in actual prejudice to the employer.
“In so doing, she contravened Chapter 15, Section 171 and paragraph (3) of the Municipal Finance Management Act, when she colluded with service providers and confirmed that the services were received by the Municipality from, specifically in this instance, Perstha which was false. Bani failed to perform her duties diligently, honestly and to the best of her ability when she kept quiet about Majozi's corrupt conduct in her (Bani) presence.”
Bani said she would not comment because there has been no official communication sent to her about the allegations.
"Thank you for contacting me. I’ve heard about the report through the grapevine. For now, I have no public comment on the above. The matter is between an employer and employee of eThekwini Municipality," Bani told Independent Media on Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, municipal sources close to Ngcobo are confident that his expulsion would be set aside by courts. They said there has been a plot to get rid of him because he refused to be bullied by regional and provincial politicians who wanted tenders from his department.