Mncwango on fraud charges

IFP national organiser Albert Mncwango's wife appeared briefly in the Nongoma magistrate's court yesterday on fraud charges.

Nelisiwe Mncwango, 52, turned herself in to the police amid allegations of defrauding tax payers in the impoverished Nongoma municipality of an undisclosed amount of money.

She is employed by the municipality as a head of corporate services.

It is alleged that she had inflated the amounts of money to be paid to service providers involved in the mayoral cup tournament last year in exchange for kickbacks. She was granted R2000 bail and is expected back in court on March 1.

It's alleged that in one incident the service provider had charged the municipality R18000 for services rendered, but that Mncwango had instructed the service provider to increase the quote to R410000.

Investigators told Sowetan that the actual figures could run into millions.

The police had been investigating a number of fraud cases in the Nongoma municipality since 2008.

The mismanagement of funds in the municipality led to the axing of former mayor Vusi Mabika in 2008.

Mncwango is the third municipal official to appear in court for alleged fraud in less than 10 days.

Two other Nongoma officials, Thulani Dlamini and Vusi Zulu, were arrested and charged with fraud related to tender irregularities amounting to more than R333000 last week. They were each given R10000 bail and were expected back in court on the same date as Mncwango.

Investigators close to the case told Sowetan that they would add further charges to the trio's charge sheets following new information they had received.

A source at the municipality told Sowetan that the matter had also involved payments to service providers for unfinished projects.

"The council has lost millions," the source said.

Mayor Sithembiso Mathaba said fraud had a negative effect on service delivery in the municipality.

"There are a number of projects that suffer when there is fraud. At this stage the officials will not be suspended as the court case is still under way," he said.