Durban – The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) along with the Assets Forfeiture Unit swooped on the houses of various municipal officials who are believed to be involved in corruption worth an estimated R200 million.
The Daily News confirmed the raids happened simultaneously at least at three properties during the early hours on Thursday.
The investigation is related to alleged corruption in the Water and Sanitation Department.
Two of the houses were in Hillcrest and one was in Waterfall.
As soon as the Hawks arrived at the property, they knocked on the gate. When this was happening a woman started screaming from inside the house.
One of the police officers asked people inside the property, “Can’t you see that we are police officers through the cameras on your property?”
After this, a man opened the gate for the police as they quickly moved into the house and started carrying out their investigations.
Other members of the Hawks apparently had a tougher time accessing another property and had to break down the gates to get access.
While this was happening, curious neighbours flooded the Hillcrest SAPS with calls about seeing “gunmen” on the property.
The police media unit were unaware of the raids and only found out when they arrived at the scene.
This is the latest incident to happen at the troubled eThekwini municipality.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the Hawks National Clean Audit Task Team conducted a search and seizure operation at Ethekwini Local Municipality on Thursday in relation to alleged fraud, corruption and money laundering.
“The operation follows allegations of awarding of tenders by the municipality without following due processes. The monetary value involved is approximately R200 million. Since 2016 to date, various companies and other service providers allegedly colluded with municipal officials and were paid millions of rands for fictitious work. It is alleged municipal officials endorsed certain companies and also registered fictitious businesses in order for them to be awarded lucrative tenders thus benefiting from unlawful and fraudulent payments. Most of the companies were not even registered on the municipalities database. The operation was successful and has led to the seizure of a number of documents and electronic equipment which will assist in the ongoing probe. No arrests were effected at this stage, pending investigations which are at an advance stage,” he said.
In a separate matter, former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede was to make an appearance in the Durban Commercial Crime Court on Thursday.
In October last year, her home was raided by the Hawks and Asset Forfeiture Unit. She stands accused of fraud and corruption in a municipal solid waste tender worth more than R200 million. She was out on R50 000 bail. – Daily News