'Illegal money' makes it easy to pay hitmen, Moerane Commission hears

Mandla Ngcobo (The Witness)
Mandla Ngcobo (The Witness)

Durban – The availability of “illegal” money in the ANC-run Harry Gwala District Municipality, south of KwaZulu-Natal, makes it easy for corrupt local officials to pay hitmen to kill those fighting corruption, the Moerane Commission heard on Friday.

The municipality’s former speaker Mandla Ngcobo told the commission investigating underlying causes into political killings in KZN that “kickbacks” from service providers who are awarded tenders illegally are used to pay for “high profile killings in the region including that of Sindiso Magaqa”.

“There’s a lot of illegal money in the district which is encouraging people to loot. Professional hitmen are paid with kickbacks from illegal tenders,” he said.

He said Magaqa - former ANCYL secretary general - who was a councillor in the Umzimkhulu municipality and Khaya Thobela who was the speaker at the same municipality had wanted to expose corruption and they were both shot dead.

ALSO READ: 45 councillors killed since 2009 - Mbalula

Umzimkhulu falls under the Harry Gwala District Municipality.

He said Thobela was shot a few weeks after he told him he wanted to expose corruption in Umzimkhulu.

Thobela was shot dead in April and Magaqa died in hospital in September following his shooting on July 13.

Three other ANC officials from the district have been killed this year for apparently fighting corruption.

Ngcobo who was a speaker at the district municipality from 2011, said he was demoted from his position and redeployed as a regular councillor by the regional executive committee (REC) in 2015.


“I think I was deliberately being purged because I spoke about corruption in the region,” said the now unemployed Ngcobo.

He said he was demoted after he was charged with bringing the ANC into disrepute for writing letters to senior ANC KZN PEC members about corruption and fraud in Harry Gwala.

He said he wrote the letters before the killings in the region started.

“What I had been raising with the ANC was uncomfortable for some, it made me unwanted in the region. I became a loner because I was raising issues of financial irregularities,” he said.

READ: 5th ANC KZN official shot dead in Harry Gwala region this year

The issues he raised included a multi-million rand tender awarded to a security company in 2011 without following proper procedures.

“The security company was not even registered with the Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Sira). They did not meet all the requirements but three companies who met the requirements did not get the tender. They were to guard the Umgeni offices, which are municipal offices in Umzimkhulu, at a bid price of R8.7m for three years,” he said.

Flouted processes

Ngcobo said he found out in August 2014 that the money paid to the security company had escalated to R22m instead of the agreed R8.7m.

He said he was made aware of the irregularities by a chief financial officer (CFO) whose term was coming to an end. He said the CFO was also in the adjudication committee of tenders.

“He canvassed me to help him continue working ‘because he had helped us get tenders for our companies’. To convince me, he came with documents to show me what he had done. The papers showed how tender processes were flouted,” he said.

He also made an example of a local hardware that was paid R10m to supply the municipality with building material during his tenure.

“Again that tender was not advertised. That is the extent of financial misconducts in our municipality,” he said.

The hearings continue on Tuesday.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you 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.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Would you choose to continue working from home after the coronavirus lockdown if given the option?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's much better for me
40% - 7924 votes
No ways! I can't wait to get back to the office
12% - 2301 votes
A mixture of both would suit me best
48% - 9603 votes
Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo