South Africa Arrests Local Government Official For R4.8M theft

South African detectives have arrested a senior local government official over the alleged theft of R4.8-million (about $291,626).

The Hawks investigators alleged that the senior official, 53, from the Molemole Local Municipality in Limpopo used his position to conspire with others to award a farming tender to a company linked to his wife without following due processes.

The detectives further alleged that the company never rendered any service to the community despite having received over R4.8-million.

The suspect was arrested on Friday at a restaurant in Polokwane and taken to a nearby police station.

In a video of the arrest, the suspect was seen being handcuffed inside the restaurant by several plainclothes officers and then loaded into a waiting car.

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A statement released by the Hawks says he will appear in the Polokwane Magistrates’ Court tomorrow (Monday) to face theft charges.

“The Hawks received a tip-off in 2018 about theft of money at Makgatho Community Property Association by some of the committee members,” spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke explained.

“The investigation revealed that between 2015 and 2018, the suspect was mentoring a community association and allegedly connived with other committee members of the association to award a farming tender to a company linked to his wife.”

Additional suspects linked to the case are still being pursued, the statement said.

The Acting Provincial Head of the Hawks, Brigadier Thabo Ramela has welcomed the arrest and issued a warning to all government officials that theft of public money will not be tolerated.

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“We will investigate without fear or favour and bring those who are implicated to book” Ramela said.

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