As part of the ongoing investigation into allegations of corruption at beleaguered Mogalakwena local municipality in Mokopane, Limpopo, the Hawks have pounced on 15 suspects, including senior municipal officials and company
The arrests follow the proclamation signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in March that authorised the Special Investigating Unit to probe the council after allegations of looting.
The Hawks had earlier received a tip-off about allegations of corruption taking place in the municipality, involving millions of rands.
It was alleged council officials were receiving gratification from service providers through fraudulent means.
It was further alleged that some companies, contracted by the council, had been paid millions by officials for services they did not render.
As a result, the municipality lost over R15 million, revealed the Hawks.
“During the operation, a BMW 1 series belonging to the girlfriend of one of the suspects was seized as an affected gift,” said Hawks spokesperson in Limpopo, Matimba Maluleke.
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Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation national head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya said: “I commend the investigation team for the hard work in securing the attendance of these group before court.”
Sources within the council revealed a former prominent ANC leader and a deputy manager in the council were among 13 suspects. They will soon face charges of corruption when they appear before court.
The arrests sent wild jubilation from ordinary people of Mogalakwena and opposition parties.
“These arrests confirm our long-standing view that there was a deliberate syphoning of public funds through corrupt activities that benefited the cabal from the governing party,” said Yolande Coetzee, the Democratic Alliance caucus chair at the Mogalakwena local municipality.
“We believe that these arrests and the court processes which will follow will flesh out the core facts which will be instrumental to restore sound financial governance and improved service delivery for the people of Mogalakwena.”
Jane Morelos, a resident of Sekgakgapeng outside Mahwelereng, said: “It is true that the wheels of the justice takes time to grind. We had lost hope that none of these corrupt politicians will ever face the law,” she said.