Sipho Nzuza defied bail conditions by dishing out contracts, cop testifies
Durban – Being directly involved in the awarding of contracts and communicating with witnesses were some of the bail conditions that Sipho Nzuza, the eThekwini Municipality manager, allegedly breached, which resulted in his rearrest on Monday morning.
Nzuza is accused number 17 in the R430 million Durban Solid Waste (DSW) tender scandal, which includes former mayor Zandile Gumede and other high-ranking City officials accused in the matter.
He was arrested in March for his alleged involvement in the DSW matter and granted R50 000 bail with strict conditions.
It was alleged DSW contracts were awarded to vendors who were not listed on the City’s database, and Nzuza allegedly approved such contracts and their extension, despite it not being in accordance with municipal regulations.
Nzuza was placed on special leave after his initial arrest and only returned to active duty on September 28.
Sipho Cele acted in Nzuza’s absence, as per a council decision.
With regards to Nzuza’s latest arrest, he handed himself over to members of the Hawks National Clean Audit Task Team and appeared, near midday, before magistrate Garth Davis in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.
The State, led by prosecutor Hazel Siraramen, said Nzuza was in breach of certain bail conditions and called investigating officer Colonel Ngoako Mphaki as her first witness.
Mphaki said he was alerted to correspondence the prosecution team received from some NGOs that Nzuza was in violation of his bail conditions.
During subsequent investigations, Mphaki said upon Nzuza’s return to work, he instructed the City’s head of security to restore his previous access and other permissions, without consulting Cele.
Having interviewed senior City officials, Mphaki discovered that Nzuza had been in communication with witnesses in the DSW matter, which was in contravention of his bail conditions, and he had conducted four virtual meetings where the said witnesses were participants.
The virtual meetings were held on October 5, 8, 13 and 16.
During the October 5 meeting, which was chaired by Nzuza, one of the matters on the agenda of the meeting was a report from their City Integrity and Investigations Unit (CIIU).
Another of Nzuza’s bail conditions prevents him from being involved with disciplinary matters related to staff implicated in the DSW matter.
Mphaki pointed out that Nzuza handed a letter of delegation, which effectively hands his powers to certain nominated individuals to award contracts, only on October 10.
His bail conditions demanded his powers to deliberate over tender processes be delegated.
But Mphaki said at all the virtual meetings, tenders were discussed.
“Nzuza wanted to be kept abreast of all the developments on DC meetings and tenders.”
Mphaki also said Nzuza and not the two delegated persons had approved and signed off on contracts, contrary to his bail conditions.
Nzuza's attorney Thandazani Madonsela denied his client had violated his bail conditions and told magistrate Davis he valid grounds to back his argument.
The matter is still proceeding in court.