The Unraveling of a PPE Tender Scandal in the Matzikama Local Municipality

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In a landmark decision, Judge Johannes Daffue of the Special Tribunal has ruled that three former Western Cape municipal officials must jointly pay back R400,027.50 for their involvement in an irregular Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tender. This case highlights the devastating impact of corruption and maladministration in public procurement during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Collusion to Bypass Proper Supply Chain Management Processes

Aldrich Hendricks, Isak Edward Jenner, and Jafta Booysen colluded with Nicolaas Jacobus Klazen, the operator of Duneco CC, to bypass proper supply chain management processes and award a PPE tender to the company. The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) conducted a thorough investigation, revealing a complex web of deceit and manipulation within the Matzikama Local Municipality.

Breach of Trust and Transparency

The story began in March 2020 when Lionel Phillips, the acting Municipal Manager at the time, formed a Covid-19 team to procure PPE. After Hendricks succeeded Phillips as Acting Municipal Manager on April 1, 2020, he disbanded the Covid-19 team and appointed Jenner as the Covid-19 Coordinating Officer.

It was during this period that Hendricks and Klazen had a telephonic conversation regarding the supply of PPE to the municipality. Later, Klazen deposited money into the bank account of Hendricks’ wife, without disclosing their relationship. This breach of trust and transparency led to the unraveling of their scheme.

Unprecedented Ruling

On June 23, 2023, the Special Tribunal accepted the SIU’s findings and declared the decision made by Hendricks in April 2020 as invalid and irregular. The ruling ordered Hendricks, Jenner, and Booysen to pay back the R400,027.50 sum to the municipality with interest from April 22, 2020. Curiously, both Hendricks and Booysen have since been employed as municipal managers within the Western Cape, while Jenner served as a former MEC of Cultural Affairs, Sport, and Recreation.

In addition to the repayment, the tribunal ordered Duneco and the three municipal officials to cover the costs of the SIU’s review application. This decision aligns with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Proclamation No. R. 23 of 2020, which authorized the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption, malpractice, and irregularities during the Covid-19 state of disaster.

Referral to National Prosecuting Authority

Pursuant to the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996, the SIU referred their findings to the National Prosecuting Authority for further action. Consequently, in May 2022, the Hawks arrested the municipal officials alongside Klazen, charging them with fraud for their involvement in the PPE tender scandal. All four were later released on R5,000 bail each, with their case scheduled for the Specialized Commercial Crimes Court in Bellville in July 2023.

The Consequences of Corrupt Actions

This PPE tender scandal in the Matzikama Local Municipality reveals the unscrupulous actions of those seeking personal gain amidst a global crisis. It is a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance and cooperation between investigating agencies and the judiciary to hold individuals accountable for their corrupt actions. The consequences of such behavior are far-reaching, affecting not only public trust in institutions but also the efficient allocation of scarce resources during times of need.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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