Durban city manager Sipho Nzuza was granted R50 000 bail in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court, where he appeared on fraud charges related to the infamous multimillion-rand Durban Solid Waste (DSW) tender scandal on Tuesday morning.
Senior state advocate Ashika Lucken said Nzuza's involvement was as pivotal as other senior officials who had been implicated in the matter, including former mayor Zandile Gumede.
She said the State alleged that Nzuza ensured unlawful appointments and had a premeditated agenda for the processes related to the infamous tender.
"Nzuza aligned himself with the outcome of the tender process to ensure certain service providers would end up with tenders."
She said that further investigation into the DSW contract showed that Nzuza extended it from July 2018 to December 2018.
Lucken added that Nzuza was aware in March 2018 that the budget for DSW had been exhausted.
"While the contract was irregular, he continued with extending it."
WATCH: @eThekwiniM municipal manager Sipho Nzuza is all smiles during a brief recess in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court. He is appearing on charges of fraud relating to the R208m DSW tender scandal. @News24 @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/sOXgGNwliF— Kaveel Singh (@kaveels) March 10, 2020
She said the total fraud in the matter was now just shy of half a billion rand, and was currently sitting at R430 million.
Lucken said Nzuza was also in contact with officials during tender processes.
"Investigations revealed that during the time of tender processes, there was extensive communication between Nzuza, officials and bidders."
She said there was also no disclosure of a relationship Nzuza had with a service provider.
"The supply chain protocol says there must be disclosure if one is related to someone. There was no disclosure that Nzuza had a relationship with one of the service providers who was awarded the tender."
Lucken said financial benefit, which would have favoured Nzuza, was "under investigation".
Nzuza's lawyer Doda Madonsela questioned why his client's cellphone had been taken by investigators without his lawyer present.
"There is information related to our private discussions with him as lawyers. Our client submitted himself to police as requested at 07:00 (on Tuesday), but no one said anything about his phone. Only when he was alone in the cells was his phone taken from him."
Lucken said investigators had told Nzuza they would take his iPhone for downloading.
"They told him he could have his phone back this afternoon. These matters can be discussed at trial."
Nzuza submitted himself to the Durban Central Police Station on Tuesday morning at the request of police. He was then arrested and formally charged with fraud, money laundering, contravention of the municipal finance act, and corruption.
News24 reported in December that several people had been arrested in connection with the same DSW tender scandal.
Former eThekwini mayor Gumede is also out on R50 000 bail for the same matter.
Gumede, councillor Mondli Mthembu and others are accused of colluding with corporate entities to circumvent the outcome of the supply chain management protocols of the municipality.