Government reappoints jailed crook
He swindled R500,000 from the municipality - now he's got a plush job
A NYANDENI municipal manager convicted of a crime eight years ago has secured a plush municipal job a few months after being released from serving his jail term.
Convicted fraudster Zingisile Buyana was found guilty of fraud after he swindled R500,000 from the municipality.
After doing his time behind bars Buyana has now found himself back on the local government payroll as senior manager at King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality earning about R360,000 per annum.
The position is based in the office of the mayor, Nonkoliso Ngqongwa.
Attempts to reach Buyana were unsuccessful as his phone was on voicemail. The mayor said she was in a meeting and disconnected the call.
A KSD municipal spokesman confirmed that Buyana was in the employ of the municipality, however, declined to comment further.
His appointment comes despite South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu)’s objections 'as it was not in the municipality’s organogram'.
When Buyana was convicted and sentenced, magistrate Dumisani Sisusa had said the sentence was to deter people who wanted to emulate what Buyana had done. The magistrate sentenced him to 19 years in jail for four counts of fraud – the sentences ran concurrently.
Buyana had been found guilty for fraudulently taking funds meant for the construction of rural access roads. He deposited the money into his private account.
Buyana’s dirty tricks were exposed by the municipality’s chief financial officer Lungisa Gqwetha who was subsequently put on compulsory leave after he blew the whistle on Buyana.
At the time of sentencing, another case of fraud against Buyana was still to be heard at the Mthatha Magistrates court involving an amount of R300,000.
This came after he altered an electronic copy of a circular from the department of local government, which gave details on allowances to be given to councilors. Buyana included the municipal manager, which was him, as one of the beneficiaries. His membership in the ANC was suspended until he completed his sentence.
In 1991 Buyana spent six months in jail for fraud.
According to the municipal systems amendment act, a staff member dismissed for financial misconduct, corruption or fraud may not be re-employed in any municipality for a period of 10 years.
Local government head Stanley Khanyile said: “We are not aware of (Buyana’s appointment). It’s something we will get the details of soonest and attend to it.
“If a person has been convicted of a serious crime like that, that person cannot be appointed. We must be informed of such so that we can be able to attend to it.”
Regional deputy secretary Lawrence Mambila said the leadership was very disappointed with the decision.
“It shows that there is no leadership in the institution whatsoever,” he said.
“Whoever appointed that person with a criminal offence, he or she must account to the ANC and the people of South Africa.
“Weren’t there any other people in the province who could have been appointed to the post?”
Mambila said it would be the newly elected leadership’s first task to call upon KSD chief whip Lulama Ngcukayithobi to answer about the matter.
“The ANC is committed to clean governance that is clear of corruption. He (Buyana) spent a lot of time in jail. We need to get to the bottom of this and why was he appointed,” he said.
“The issue of a criminal record should have been looked into. What makes a person from jail to be a priority out of many qualifying candidates?”
Mambila said an ANC member who gets convicted of a crime is taken through political processes of the organisation before he could be redeployed.