KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has called on the law enforcement agencies to be given space to deal with the five officials from his office who were arrested for fraud and corruption on Thursday.
This follows the arrest of nine people, including the officials by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) on allegations of corruption to the tune of over R20 million.
The officials were expected to appear at the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on Wednesday.
The case was postponed to October 2 and more arrests are expected.
“The office of the premier respects the rule of law and will allow the law to take its course. We wish to state that the office of the premier had already placed some of these officials on precautionary suspension pending the conclusion of the internal disciplinary processes. Now that the matter is in the hands of the criminal justice system, we are duty-bound to allow the process to unfold. We, however, wish to reiterate our position that as government we are committed to good and clean governance,” said Zikalala.
Hawks spokesperson Simphiwe Mhlongo said the five officials were linked to tender fraud and corruption and had already appeared in court on Thursday.
“It is alleged that officials in the premier’s office connived with service providers to secure catering tenders disregarding all supply chain procedures and the officials allegedly received gratification for their efforts. These allegations were reported to the Durban Serious Corruption Investigation who through a prosecution guided investigation led to the arrest of the four officials and one service provider. The total value of the contracts under investigation is more than R20 million,” said Mhlongo in a statement.
The officials, Ziphathe Mboneni Cibane (55) a chief financial officer, was granted R10 000 bail while personal assistant Nomusa Zakwe (35), administration clerk Njabulo Makhathini (34) and senior administration clerk Sithembiso Msomi (53) were granted R5 000 bail each.
Gugu Kheswa (51), a director in Phumalanga Communications Close Corporation was granted R20 000 bail. It was not immediately clear when the five will appear in court again.