Pensioner who allegedly pocketed over R3m from PPE tenders survives on social grant, court hears

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The accused in the SAPS PPE case.
The accused in the SAPS PPE case.
Ntwaagae Seleka
  • A pensioner who allegedly scored millions from PPE tenders claims she is surviving on a social grant.
  • Salamina Khoza submitted in court she could only afford R500 bail.
  • Khoza allegedly benefitted from police PPE tenders, using her three companies.

A social grant recipient has claimed poverty despite allegedly pocketing more than R3 million from police personal protective equipment (PPE) tenders.

Salamina Khoza, 67, claimed she was poor and could not afford the R20 000 bail the State had proposed. 

Khoza allegedly scored millions using companies registered under her name.

Some of the payments were allegedly processed by her co-accused, Brigadier Stephinah Mokgohle Mahlangu, 52, and now retired Colonel Isaac Majaji Ngobeni, 61.

Khoza claimed she lived with her unemployed grandson in her daughter's house in Soshanguve.

"I can only afford R500 bail. I was arrested on 7 February and fully co-operated with the investigating officer. I am charged with corruption. I intend to plead not guilty during the trial.

"I am diabetic and diagnosed with hypertension. I will not evade trial. I believe that the case against me is weak and will be struck off the roll," she added.

READ | Twelve of the 15 accused of police PPE fraud have pending cases

Ngobeni said he retired from the police in 2021.

He was a colonel in the national supply chain management division.

"I have been diagnosed with hypertension. I am on chronic medication. I will suffer prejudice should I be denied bail.

"I was previously arrested by the same investigating officer in the current case. The matter was later struck off the roll. I will not commit any offence should I be granted bail.

"The charges I face don't involve violence. I will not threaten witnesses. I will not evade trial should I be granted bail," Ngobeni added.

Country estate

Mahlangu claimed she was a single mother of three children, residing at the Silverwoods Country Estate in Pretoria.

She is a brigadier in the national supply chain management division.

Mahlangu was arrested on Monday.

She said:

I have been advised that my bail application will not be opposed. I am asthmatic and rely on an asthma pump. Two of my children rely on me for survival. I will not intimidate witnesses. I will not commit any crime should I be granted bail.

ALSO READ | Blue light tender fraud: State is ready for trial, despite bid to have matter struck off roll

Prosecutor Tilas Chabalala argued although he was not opposing bail, he was shocked by Khoza's claims she was poor.

"Today, Khoza is here claiming she receives a social grant. She is the sole director of several companies. Her other company, Siyanqoba Trading and Projects, benefitted to the tune of over R1.9 million through PPE tenders from the SAPS.

"She is also the sole director of Sifikile Furniture, which also benefitted from a PPE tender from the SAPS worth more than R1.8 million. She had benefited from PPE tenders worth over R3 million from the SAPS.

"Ngobeni and Mahlangu approved some of the payments. Fixing bail at R500 and being a pensioner will not be in the interest of justice. The State suggests a bail of R20 000 be fixed against her."

Chabalala said Ngobeni received a full package when he retired in 2021.

"He was not dismissed. He claims he can only afford R500 bail. Fixing bail at R500 will not be in the interest of justice. It is just a drop in the ocean. He can easily forfeit his bail if he wants to evade trial. I suggest R10 000 bail."

Bail fixed

Magistrate Phillip Venter said the bail amount should not be ridiculous.

"Khoza's bail amount jumped from R500 to R2 000. She didn't deny that she received over R3 million from the SAPS. She now claims she survives on a social grant.

"She is not honest with her financial incomes. Ngobeni claims he is unemployed. He was not honest with his financial ability to pay bail. He didn't reveal that his pension was fully paid in 2021," Venter added.

He fixed bail for Khoza, Mahlangu and Ngobeni at R5 000 each.

Meanwhile, the bail application by Kishene Chetty, 39, Lorette Joubert, 44, Kumarasen Prithiviraj, 48, Volan Prithiviraj, 25, Maricha Joubert, 25, Ramahlaphi Johannes Mokwena, 61, James Manjalum, 56, Veeran Naipal, 48, Alpheus Nkosibake Makhetha, 47, Marcell Duan Marney, 34, Kysamula Morris Mabasa, 61 and Lesetja David Mogotlane, 58, could not continue on Tuesday.

The 12 suspects, together with Khoza, Mahlangu and Ngobeni, are accused of defrauding the police's national office of more than R1.9 million through a PPE tender.

On Tuesday, the court heard the 12, including former and current police employees, have pending cases against them.

Chabalala said the State was opposing their bail.

The 12 face Schedule 6 offences apart from Khoza, Mahlangu and Ngobeni, who face Schedule 5 offences.

The bail hearing continues on Wednesday. 

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