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Bhanga submits affidavit in R631 million Siyenza toilet scandal

Jul 9, 2019
Bhanga submits affidavit in R631 million Siyenza toilet scandal

East London - On Tuesday, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader in the Eastern Cape, Nqaba Bhanga, visited offices occupied by the South African Police Service in the Cambridge Goods Shed in East London where he submitted an affidavit to a completed criminal investigation into the R631 million Siyenza toilet scandal in the Amathole District Municipality (ADM). 

"In doing so I was joined by Buffalo City Metro Councillors Vaughan Holmes and Dharmesh Dhaya," Bhanga said.

"I had initially planned to lay criminal charges against a former ADM Municipal Manager, Mr Chris Magwanqana, who is criminally implicated in this scandal, but decided to rather add my affidavit to a completed investigation."

He said that a multi-disciplinary police task team attached to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was in charge of this existing investigation into the scandal.

"The investigating officer informed us that the criminal investigation has been completed and is now with the DPP in Port Elizabeth for a decision on how to proceed.

"I will now make contact with the DPP to get feedback on progress regarding this case," Bhanga said.

He stated that a recent report released by the Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane, found that there was improper conduct and maladministration in the awarding of the tender, to construct 66 000 toilets, to Siyenza.

"The report found that Mr Magwanqana failed to fulfil his fiduciary duties as the Accounting Officer of the municipality, and that irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure in excess of R103-million was incurred. Accordingly, the recently released report forms the basis of my affidavit," Bhnaga said.

"The DA raised this matter with the Public Protector back in 2015, when the allegations of improper conduct around this tender first arose."

He added that the following extract from the report is telling:

“The fact that this tender did not comply with section 217 of the Constitution and Regulation 32 of the MFMA Regulations justifiably raises suspicion that there was an intention to manipulate SCM processes to the benefit of certain individuals who happen to have political links. A question can be raised whether the Municipality would have acted in the same way had the beneficiaries been ordinary citizens with the same credentials but without political links.”

"The report further found that the contract between Blue Nightingale Trading 397 (Pty Ltd) trading as Siyenza and the Amathole District Municipality was unconstitutional, and the awarding of the tender to Siyenza was also in violation of the Local Government Municipal Finance Management Act," Bhanga said.

"The DA believes that those who are guilty of corruption must be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years. It is high time that those responsible for stealing money meant for the people of this province are put behind bars."

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