Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

PPE procurement scandal: Now Hawks raid Mpumalanga municipality

Another twist in the procurement corruption saga as Hawks seize documents relating to possible R27-million PPE irregularities.


Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

In another twist related to the PPE procurement scandal rocking South Africa, the Hawks have confirmed they have raided a small district municipality in Mpumalanga to investigate alleged fraud of around R27-million.

Hawks members went to the Nkomazi Local Municipality on Thursday to conduct a search-and-seizure operation, spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

He said the raid “follows investigations in relation to alleged Covid-19 procurement fraud wherein the appointment of contractors and service providers were inconsistent with the requisite procurement regulations”.

Documents seized to ‘assist in ongoing probe’

Mulaudzi confirmed that several documents were seized from different offices at the municipality and that these would “assist in the ongoing probe”.

No arrests have been made thus far and more detail would be released at a later stage, he said.

Nkomazi Local Municipality is in the eastern part of the Ehlanzeni District Municipality in Mpumalanga. Its centre is the small farming town of Malalane, formerly known as Malelane, on the N4 national highway to Mozambique.

Allegations of corruption made three weeks ago

Three weeks ago the City Press newspaper reported that the Nkomazi municipal manager “had left officials confused when he allegedly hogged the Covid-19 budget and appointed companies without a bidding process, in violation of the Municipal Finance Management Act and Treasury regulations for tenders above R200 000”.

City Press further noted that: “In cases of emergencies when supply chain management processes cannot be followed, permission must be sought from the Treasury”.

The newspaper said “insiders” had alleged that the municipal manager “did not follow procurement procedures at all”.

Days after President expressed corruption concern

The possible Nkomazi scandal comes amid fierce criticism of corruption within the ANC, mere days after President Cyril Ramaphosa vowed to root out dubious conduct concerning coronavirus relief funds.

According to News 24, on Thursday the Special Investigating Unit raided the offices of the Matzikama Local Municipality as well as those of a supplier over the alleged irregular procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The municipality is located in the Western Cape, with the town of Vredendal, 250km north of Cape Town, as its main centre.

Jo’burg mayoral committee member on leave

Also on Thursday, Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo accepted a leave request from mayoral committee member Loyiso Masuku after she was linked to a PPE scandal involving her husband, Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku, presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko and Diko’s husband, Chief Madzikane II Diko.

Khusela Diko, while maintaining her innocence, has also stepped away from her duties as presidential spokesperson. Thandisizwe Diko has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has labelled the ANC’s deferral to the Integrity Committee as “unfortunate”.