R24m catering tender case: CFO, officials in KZN Premier Zikalala's office granted bail

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Premier Sihle Zikalala speaking at a Covid-19 press briefing.
Premier Sihle Zikalala speaking at a Covid-19 press briefing.
KZN government
  • Officials including KZN premier's office CFO Ziphathe Cibane appeared in a Durban court on Thursday.
  • Cibane and his co-accused were granted bail ranging from R5 000 to R20 000.
  • They allegedly flouted tender processes to pocket funds for themselves in catering contracts.

Five accused involved in the awarding of catering services, including the CFO in the Officer of the Premier in KwaZulu-Natal, were granted bail in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday.

It is alleged that officials in the Office of the Premier colluded with service providers to secure catering tenders disregarding all supply chain procedures.

Of those that appeared:

  • Ziphathe Mboneni Cibane, 55, the Chief Financial Officer was granted R 10 000 bail;
  • Nomusa Zakwe, 35, a personal assistance was granted R5 000 bail;
  • Njabulo Makhathini, 34, an administration clerk was granted R5 000 bail;
  • Sithembiso Msomi, 53, a senior administration officer was also granted R5 000; and
  • Gugu Kheswa, 51, a Director in Phumalanga Communications Close Corporation was granted R20 000 bail.  

It is alleged that officials in the Office of the Premier colluded with service providers to secure catering tenders disregarding all supply chain procedures.

ALSO READ | KZN dept squanders nearly R30m irregularly on protective gear, blankets

During proceedings, Cibane wore a smart pin stripe suit and stoically stood in the dock with his co-accused.

There was a brief deliberation to reduce the bail to R2 000 for some of the accused, but this was quickly shot down by the State who revealed the total amount involved in the matter was R24m.

Officials had already been suspended

In a statement released by spokesperson Lennox Mabaso, Premier Sihle Zikalala's office said he "respects the rule of law and will allow the law to take its course.

"We wish to state that the Office of the Premier had already placed some of these officials on precautionary suspension pending the conclusion of the internal disciplinary processes," Mabaso said.

He said the matter was now in the hands of the criminal justice system.

"We are duty-bound to allow the process to unfold. We, however, wish to reiterate our position that as government we are committed to good and clean governance. We are fully committed to running a corruption-free government and will therefore deal with all types of fraud and corruption whenever these raise their ugly heads."

READ | Three people arrested for defrauding Toyota SA of R55m

He said this included implementing consequence management and working closely with the law enforcement agencies.

"We are fighting corruption. There simply should be no place for the abuse of the public trust, and wherever such occurs it must be addressed as soon possible."

Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said the allegations were reported to the Durban Serious Corruption Investigation "who through a prosecution guided investigation led to the arrest of the four officials and one service provider. The total value of the contracts under investigation is more than R20 million".   

National Head of the DPCI, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya has welcomed the arrests.

"As we indicated before, all those who contributed in looting the government and municipalities shall be brought to justice," said Lebeya.

The matter returns to court on 2 October.

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