Four more suspects held over allegedly substandard Limpopo housing project units
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Cape Town – Four bid evaluation committee members from the Housing Development Agency (HDA) have been arrested by the Hawks over alleged corruption involving R2.4 million on the Talana Temporary Housing units project.
They were arrested in different parts of Johannesburg on Friday. The suspects allegedly vouched for Aventino Group CC company to construct the housing units without thoroughly checking the validity of the documents that were submitted, Hawks spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke said in a statement on Saturday.
It is further alleged that the temporary housing units do not adhere to the design and specifications.
At the peak of the pandemic, the national Department of Human Settlements and Water Affairs had directed that temporary shelters be built for vulnerable people living in inhumane conditions.
More than 40 tin shelters were built in Talana at a cost of R64 000 each. The project was later described by authorities to be sub-standard, causing a countrywide outcry and an investigation by the Hawks and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
The suspects are expected to appear in the Tzaneen Magistrate's Court on Monday to face multiple charges of fraud.
This brings the total number of arrested suspects to six.
The initial suspects, Raymond Maoto, 35, project manager from the HDA, and Constance Mohlala, 44, a director of Aventino Group CC company and Aventino Group CC company, were arrested on Thursday in Polokwane and have since appeared in the Tzaneen Magistrate's Court.
They have been remanded in custody until Tuesday for a formal bail application.
Maluleke said on Thursday: “We have arrested the director of the company that was awarded the tender and the project manager from the HDA. We have also arrested a third person who is a juristic person (the company that was awarded the tender).”
Maluleke said the arrests followed demands to investigate following an “outcry”.
He was reluctant to speak about the correlation between the investigation by the Hawks and that of the SIU into the matter.
He also did not want to divulge details of an investigation into another “Covid-19 shack settlement” in Burgersfort, which was allegedly awarded to the same company to build.