A fifth person appeared in court related to suspected tender fraud and corruption that rocked the Beaufort West community when the Hawks arrested Quinton Louw City Mayor and spokesman Noel Constable in September.
Central Karoo District community leader Mkhululi Hangana, along with community officer Norwood Kotze, vomited on September 17 and they appeared briefly in court before being released on bail of R5,000 each.
Hawks Western Cape spokesman Zinzi Hani said the arrests were related to an investigation into allegations of an illegally awarded contract in 2019 related to road modernization.
A team of Hawks investigating serious white-collar crime then arrested businessman Taelo Itumeleng Polycarp Kgobokoe in Harrismith, Free State on September 30.
His company, Ihlathi Trading 21cc, is owned As Massive Dynamic, incorporated as a legal entity.
Kgobokoe and the company appeared in Beaufort West District Court on Tuesday in connection with alleged tender fraud and corruption valued at R600,000 on October 14th on a bail request in court.
She said Louw, Constable, Hangana and Kotze were due back in court on November 26th.
The arrests triggered the ANC’s “step aside” ” Clause effectively suspending party members from public office if charged with criminal charges. Louw and Hangana were removed from the ANC’s candidate lists ahead of the upcoming local elections.
The community is traditionally seen as an ANC stronghold in the predominantly DA-operated Western Cape, but the DA managed to gain control first as a coalition in 2016 and then directly in 2017, before losing again in 2018 to a coalition of the ANC and the Karoo Democratic Force (KDF) – under which Constable acted as mayor.
It is one of one Handful of municipalities in the Western Cape that regularly receive qualified audits by the Auditor-General.
In his 2019/2020 municipal audit report, the Auditor-General issued a rejected opinion in his report for Beaufort West, This means, that the auditors were not presented with sufficient evidence to support their audit opinion.
In 2019, the spokeswoman for the Beaufort West community, Kosie Haarhoff, published a statement to “misjudge Suspicions to clarify irregular expenses ”and“ misleading media reports giving the impression that I am receiving money that was misappropriated / stolen. ”
This referred to the publication of an audit report by the auditor in the municipality this year, which resulted in non-compliant spending of 52 million which supply chain management guidelines were not always followed. the statement reads.
“In the interests of Stakeholder Relationship Management, it is important that the Auditor General take reasonable steps to ensure that the public is adequately informed to avoid unnecessary tension between communities and their citizens Avoid, “it said.
” Exam terms and jargon are confusing to the public as they are, and the auditor’s staff should ensure that the public is cleared up on terms such as useless and wasteful spending, irregular and unapproved spending, unqualified, qualified and clean audit opinion, “said Haarhoff.
Sifiso Mtsweni, spokesman for the Western Cape ANC said that while Hangana and Louw are both strong ANC candidates, the party has many candidates on its list for the Beaufort West community for the upcoming election. “The arrests obviously did not come at the right time because we had gone through a very vigorous candidate selection process in the province and across the country, “he said.
” Comrade Quinton and Comrade Mkhululi were not only nominated by branches of the ANC, you know that we hold community meetings. They went through this process and were supported, “he said.
” We are at all times protecting the integrity of the ANC as an organization that went through a very difficult period in which it was connected with things, with that it doesn’t want to connect, “said Mtsweni.