Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya appears at the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)
Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya appears at the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Net closing in on high-ranking cops in alleged corrupt blue light tender

By Gift Tlou Time of article published Oct 13, 2020

Share this article:

Johannesburg - The net is closing in on top-ranking police officials who allegedly played a role in the awarding of a blue lights contract to Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement.

Police Deputy National Commissioner Lieutenant-General Bonang Mgwenya, responsible for human resource management, has become the latest official to be arrested, making her accused number 13 in the matter.

Mgwenya appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Monday where she was released on R20 000 bail. She faces charges of fraud, corruption, theft and money laundering.

In her bail application affidavit, which was read out in court by her lawyer, Zirk Pansegrow, the commissioner argued that R20 000 was a hefty amount for her.

“Although I am in custody, I have been able to scrape together an amount of R5 000 cash as bail money.”

Pansegrow said that “a messiah” came through for the commissioner to pay the R20 000 bail required.

The commissioner further indicated that the financial losses she might suffer if detained would be vast and irreversible.

“I am the owner of the premises that I stay in, which is burdened with an outstanding bond in the approximate region of R2.7 million.”

Mgwenya also listed six of her dependants in the affidavit, including her son, 19, who is at university, two of her brothers, her sister, mother and a niece.

“I am accordingly the only real breadwinner in my family.”

Mgwenya and her co-accused are said to have colluded to ensure that a company owned by Vimpie Manthata was awarded a contract to install 1 550 police motor vehicles with warning lights at a grossly inflated cost. It is understood that the accused completely ignored the competitive bidding process and committed the SAPS to a financial exposure of R191m in favour of Manthata’s company in exchange for benefits received.

It is alleged that Mgwenya’s benefit came in the form of a BMW X5 from Zambesi Auto Motors, which saw Manthata fork out a contribution of R440 000 towards the purchasing price and negotiate a discount of R284 580 for her.

The other accused are ex-top cop Khomotso Phahlane, former Gauteng police head General Deliwe de Lange, Major-General Nombhuruza Napo, who is Gauteng’s current deputy police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Ramahlapi Mokwena, national divisional commissioner for supply chain management Brigadier Ravi Pillay, and Brigadier James Ramanjalum, the SAPS’s head of procurement.

Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) executive director Jennifer Ntlatseng said: “Ipid remains committed in its constitutional mandate of investigating any alleged police misconduct; once more our seasoned investigators have done a commendable job.”

National police commissioner Khehla Sitole said justice must prevail and that the law must take its course in all criminal cases involving the police.

Sitole also assured the public that Mgwenya’s arrest would not halt service delivery operations within the human resource environment.

The South African Policing Union sent a stern warning to Sitole about suspending Mgwenya with full benefits.

“If Sitole allows the accused to waste taxpayers’ money while being suspended with full benefits, the union will hold him personally liable for such wasteful expenditure.”

The union added that the arrest of a senior police commander already called for a disciplinary action.

All the accused are expected to stand trial from November 16 to December 10.

The Star

Share this article: