Ex-mayor faces new charges of R30m

Frank Maponya

The former mayor of Makhuduthamaga municipality, Kgaola Abram Mafiri, three officials and a businessman appeared briefly in the Polokwane magistrates' court yesterday on charges of corruption involving more than R30million.

Mafiri, Collins Malekana, James Malekana, Kgopotso Morewana and Abdul Muneer Essa were not asked to plead.

All five are out on undisclosed amounts of bail.

The case, involving charges of fraud, corruption, forgery and money laundering, was postponed to December 3 for further investigation.

The Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit in Pretoria arrested the five suspects on charges that they benefited from irregular tenders worth more than R30million.

The tenders were allegedly awarded to communities in Sekhukhune who were duped into registering close corporations.

The scam allegedly started in the late 1990s while Mafiri was mayor.

More than 30 people in Sekhukhune had registered close corporations that ultimately won tenders to distribute stationery at schools in Limpopo.

The accused allegedly then changed the names of the companies so they were able to pocket the money.

Senior prosecutor, Richard Tshabalala yesterday said the alleged scam was so serious it warranted "proper investigation for justice to prevail".

"We are in the final phase of our investigations and will be ready when the trial starts on December 3," said Tshabalala.

In a separate case involving fraud of more than R2million, Mafiri and Essa were released on R10000 and R5000 bail respectively.

They had previously been in police custody.

That case has been postponed to October 25.