Jubilation was the order of the day at the Polokwane Specialised Crime Court on Monday. The court remanded two municipal officials who are charged with tender corruption back into custody.
Members of the opposition in the ANC-led Lepelle-Nkumpi local municipality burst into tears of elation. The accused are an ANC ward councillor and a high-ranking municipal official, tasked with the responsibility of managing a municipal purse.
They are chief financial officer (CFO) Khomotso Mankga and head of technical services, Sabilone Mpofela. Mpofela is also the ANC councillor for ward 29 of the Lepelle-Nkumpi municipality in the Mafefe municipal area.
R30k bribe for tender
Mpofela and Mankga were arrested at the weekend after a businessman alleged he had applied for a tender that was advertised by the municipality to provide road construction machines, the police said. Instead of winning the tender, the businessman told the police he was robbed R30 000.
The businessman told police that while waiting for the municipality to announce the rightful winner for the tender, he received a call from someone who claimed to be from the municipality, the police said.
“The official, according to the businessman, requested to meet up with him at the municipal premises to discuss about the awarding of the tender,” said Captain Matimba Maluleke of the Hawks in Limpopo.
The meeting was held with one of the municipal senior officials and the complainant was told his company got the tender. For the businessman to get the tender, he allegedly had to first pay R30 000 gratification.
The matter was reported to the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation members, based in Polokwane. Subsequently an undercover operation was conducted.
“The suspect was arrested in Polokwane after a meeting to hand over the cash in the Polokwane Central Business District. The cash and the vehicle used in the commission of the crime were also confiscated,” said Maluleke.
The arrest of the two sent great celebrations to all those who hated corruption under the Lepelle-Nkumpi municipality.
The opposition, the Defenders of the People (DOP), who have four seats in council, could not wait to demonstrate their elation.
The arrest of the CFO and the councillor was long overdue, said DOP council chief whip Fani Tsela.