Four eThekwini metro councillors who were arrested on Wednesday in connection with the Durban Solid Waste tender corruption allegations will still attend a council meeting on Thursday, Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said.
Four councillors and three contractors were arrested on Wednesday by the Hawks in relation to the R208m tender case, which also involves former mayor Zandile Gumede.
“The law is very clear, if there are allegations against you, there are processes your organisation will have to follow. Those are processes that we will be leaving with the ANC to decide. They will be present. They are still councillors. They have not been suspended, they have not been fired, so they are still councillors,” Kaunda said at the Durban Exhibition Centre while announcing the City’s festive season plan.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi on Wednesday said 15 people had been arrested on various fraud and corruption charges, including four councillors, municipal officials and community-based contractors.
“We must allow the law to take its course. All law enforcement agencies don’t have to come to us as leadership for a permit to arrest or not arrest,” Kaunda said.
‘Law to take its course’
He said law enforcement agencies were guided by legislation.
“They are guided by the legislation of this country and our criminal justice system is there to serve. We have nothing to do with that, we will allow the law to take its course.”
eThekwini DA caucus leader Nicole Graham said the councillors should have been removed.
“eThekwini Speaker, Councillor Weziwe Thusi, has failed to table any charges against these councillors and they continue their work. This is despite numerous attempts from the DA to have the matter addressed.”
The arrests followed a year-long investigation by the Hawks into allegations that they had received gratifications, engaged in money laundering and contravened the Municipal Finance and Municipal System acts.
“The four councillors and three contractors are implicated in the R208m Durban Solid Waste tender scandal,” said Mulaudzi on Wednesday.
He said this brought to 22 the number of people arrested in the matter so far. Investigations are ongoing.
Gumede is out on R50 000 bail in the case. She, councillor Mondli Mthembu and others are accused of colluding with corporate entities and others to circumvent the outcome of the supply chain management protocols of the municipality.
In October, the Hawks and Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority swooped in on the fraud, corruption and money laundering accused, seizing various homes and luxury cars.