Bail granted to four accused in R400m tender corruption case relating to SA Express

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
The four accused allegedly signed off ground handling service tenders in 2014. The tenders formed part of the North West government's plan to reintroduce commercial flights to Mahikeng and Pilanesberg airports.
The four accused allegedly signed off ground handling service tenders in 2014. The tenders formed part of the North West government's plan to reintroduce commercial flights to Mahikeng and Pilanesberg airports.
Getty Images
  • The Hawks in the North West arrested four people for allegedly defrauding the provincial government of millions in 2014.
  • They appeared in the Molopo Magistrate's Court on 34 charges.
  • They were arrested in the North West and Gauteng on Thursday and Friday.

Four people appeared in the Molopo Magistrate's Court in the North West on Friday in connection with a R400-million tender fraud case relating to SA Express.

Tebogo van Wyk, Nothando Dube, Sipho Levy Phiri and Thabang Mohlokoleng are facing 34 charges, alongside three companies, Batsamai Investment Holdings, Sevilex Investment Holdings, and Lavao Estevao (Pty) Ltd.

The charges range from fraud, corruption, money laundering, and violation of the Public Finance Management Act. The four accused were granted bail on Friday.

They are accused of unduly benefitting from irregular payments to the tune of millions of rands.

Van Wyk was granted R500 000 bail and Dube R35 000. Phiri and Mohlokoleng were released on R150 000 and R50 000 bail, respectively.

Their bail conditions include surrendering their passports and attending their next court appearance on 1 December.

Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said Mohlokoleng indicated that his passport was missing.

Mogale said:

The court granted him five days to submit his passport, and he was ordered to report to his nearest police station every day between 06:00 and 18:00 until the passport is surrendered.

According to Mogale, in 2014, the North West government embarked on a process of reintroducing commercial flights to the province's two airports, Mahikeng and Pilanesberg, in a deal that was estimated to be around R400 million.

She said R183 million was allegedly paid to SA Express between 2015 and 2017 for services rendered by the ground management companies, which Van Wyk, Dube and Phiri are linked to.

"The State alleges that... an amount of R51 million was channelled irregularly through the charged companies.

"The North West government allegedly appointed SA Express as a service provider to render the service, but this was done without following the proper supply chain management processes.

READ | SA's CemAir eyes African expansion – with flights to Tanzania, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Mauritius

"The irregularly secured agreement is said to have been signed by the four accused. Mohlokoleng signed on behalf of the Department of Transport as the then-accounting officer in his capacity as the head of department.

"The deal was riddled with procurement irregularities, and monies were paid for services not rendered. All companies appointed to do the ground handling services were indirectly owned by Dube and Phiri," said Mogale.

"The irregularities prejudiced the North West government to the tune of millions of rands that could have been directed to service delivery."

Mogale said the case was investigated following a recommendation by the Zondo Commission.

She said the Hawks would continue the investigation. Mogale added that it would be conducted in phases, with the possibility of more charges and arrests.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Who do you think should accept responsibility for the dire state of Eskom’s power system?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Eskom’s current management must take the fall
4% - 204 votes
Previous bosses from Zuma years are to blame
33% - 1834 votes
Mantashe and govt have been asleep at the wheel
31% - 1746 votes
There are many culprits; it’s a complex situation
33% - 1854 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.