Councillors linked to R208m DSW tender scandal released on R5000 bail
Durban – Four eThekwini Municipality councillors overseeing Umlazi wards who were arrested on charges of fraud and corruption and appeared at the Durban commercial crimes court on Wednesday afternoon, have been released on R5 000 bail each.
Abegail Nomthandazo Shabalala (Ward 87) Nomsa Euna Mthembu (Ward 81), Mishack Sithenjwa Nyawose (Ward 79) and Grace Thembelihle de Lange (Ward 85) will be back in the dock on April 7, 2020.
The court heard that the councillors allegedly facilitated or directed that the main sub-contractor in the now infamous R208 million Durban Solid Waste (DSW) tender scandal be given to certain sub-contractors, from whom they received kickbacks.
Some of the councillors also had "personal interests" in the sub-contractors, the court heard.
The four have been charged with contravention of the Municipal Finances Management Act (MFMA), fraud, money laundering and corruption.
The councillors were arrested along with three sub-contractors, who were also released on R5 000 bail each.
The Hawks, following an ongoing investigation by their Clean Audit Task Team (CATT), made the arrests.
In May, then eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede was arrested with senior councillor Mondli Mthembu and 10 others for their alleged role in the racket.
This eventually led to the African National Congress’s provincial executive committee sacking her as mayor. Gumede is out on R50 000 bail and will appear at the Durban commercial crimes court again in January.
Also on Wednesday, a further eight individuals working as weighbridge operators at DSW’s Springfield Landfill were arrested. However, the Hawks are currently treating this as a separate matter. They are accused of fraudulently generating weighbridge receipts for four service providers contracted by the city. The officials were released on R3,500 bail each.
eThekwini’s acting head of communications, Mawakhe Mayisela, said the city would cooperate with the Hawks as it had “declared fraud and corruption our enemy number one”.
“We are on record as saying that under no circumstances shall we impede law enforcement agencies and institutions tasked with dispensing justice to do their noble work. We are therefore reiterating our stance in that where there is suspicion of unlawful conduct, we will cooperate with these institutions without fail,” said Mayisela.
He said the latest round of arrests would not affect service delivery.
Hawks spokesperson, brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, earlier told African News Agency (ANA) that more arrests relating to the R208 million tender were imminent.
African News Agency (ANA)