Director granted bail after being accused of COVID-19 fraud

Image via: Hawks

Director accused of R4.8m in COVID-19 fraud granted R20 000 bail

The 48-year-old director was arrested by the Hawks for alleged fraud worth R4.8 million in the OR Tambo Municipality.

Director granted bail after being accused of COVID-19 fraud

Image via: Hawks

Director of Phathilizwi Training Institute Pumla Gambula, 48, appeared in the Mthatha Regional Court on Thursday after she was arrested by the Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team for alleged fraud worth over R4.8 million within the OR Tambo District Municipality.  

Her arrest follows a three-month intensive prosecution led investigation into COVID-19 awareness services.  


It is alleged that the company and its sole director Gambula intentionally submitted fraudulent documents to various municipalities purporting that she conducted door-to-door awareness campaigns for the prevention and containment of the COVID-19 pandemic to the rural communities of Port St Johns Local, King Sabatha Dalindyebo and Mhlonto local municipalities.

“The Director then invoiced the three municipalities to the tune of over R4.8 million for services that were partially rendered with fraudulent supporting documents,” said Colonel Katlego Mogale. 

Following Gambula’s court appearance on Thursday, she was granted R20 000 bail. Her case has been postponed to 30 October 2020 to afford her an opportunity to secure representation.

The DA’s OR Tambo Constituency Leader Mlindi Nhanha said the OR Tambo District Municipality is one of the epicentres for COVID-19 corruption in the Eastern Cape.

“The Municipality was also in the news when its Acting Municipal Manager laid criminal charges against the suspended Municipal Manager for fraud, theft and corruption related to financial mismanagement of R168 million, which is linked to water and sanitation programmes meant to assist communities with COVID-19 interventions,” said Nhanha. 

“The DA commends the Hawks for their swift action against Phathilizwi Training Institute and will continue to monitor the case, to ensure that those responsible of wrongdoing are held accountable and face the full might of the law.” 


The Hawks have also rounded off four former senior state officials on Thursday morning for alleged tender irregularities committed at the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH), in 2007.

The long-drawn-out case by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation emanates from February 2007, wherein the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) submitted a proposal to the GDoH to continue with an information technology maintenance programme at the department.

The total cost of such a project was meant to be no more than R57 million for a period of three years. The contract was instead awarded to a private entity at a whooping cost of around R1.2 billion without following due tender procedures.

“The four former state officials which included a former Head of Department (HoD), who was also an Accounting Officer at the time, Chief Director of Information Communication and Technology, Head of Supply Chain Management and the Deputy Director for Executive Support allegedly received kickbacks for their role in ensuring that the contract was awarded to an undeserving entity,” said Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase. 

The officials face charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).