Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane has been fingered in a report by the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane to have fraudulently benefitted from a R1.1 million tender that was meant for the memorial service of struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
In a report tabled on Friday, October 8, Mkhwebane made an order for the Hawks to pursue an inquiry into allegations of Mabuyane renovating his house with funds to the tune of R450 000 while he was MEC of economic development.
The inquiry into the alleged fraudulent activities stem from a complaint lodged by following a July 2019 newspaper report purporting the misappropriation of public funds running into the millions through the assistance of businessman Lonwabo Bam.
Mkhwebane’s report also fingered the Eastern Cape’s current Public Works MEC, Babalo Madikizela to have accrued benefit to the tune of R350 000, with the ANC also getting a slice of the pie amounting to R280 000.
“The financial benefits that accrued to Mr Mabuyane, Mr Madikizela and the ANC raise a suspicion of a commission of criminal conduct in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998 and/or Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004. Accordingly, this part of the investigation has been referred to the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI) of the SAPS,” she said.
In addition, Mkhwebane also found the conduct of Mbizana Municipality municipal manger, Luvuyo Mahlaka in the matter to constitute improper conduct.
The public protector indicated the investigation to have ‘undeniably proven’ the nature of the allegations to be of a criminal nature, which cannot be fully pursued by her office without the involvement of authorities charged with criminal investigation and prosecution.
“The issues investigated, and the evidence obtained are accordingly, in terms of section 6(4)(c)(ii) of the Public Protector Act, referred to the head of the DPCI/Hawks of the SAPS for consideration of criminal investigation, with a view to prosecution,” she added.
The findings have received attention from the Mabuyane’s office with spokesperson Sonwabo Mbananga indicating the premier’s acknowledgement of the public protector’s report. Mbananga also stated Mabuyane’s maintenance of his innocence of allegations of acts of fraud and corruption.
“As a result, he has instructed his legal representatives to take the report on judicial review because it ignored substantial information that sought to respond to the allegations levelled against him. The premier has further instructed his legal counsel to urgently interdict the implementation of the remedial actions,” he said.
Mbananga further affirmed that Mabuyana remains committed to the fight against corruption and maladministration, while serving the people of the Eastern Cape.