Suspects in Limpopo shack scandal granted bail

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The Tzaneen Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo has granted bail to six people arrested for alleged fraud relating to a R2.4 million contract for the provision of 40 shacks at the Talana hostel.

A businesswoman has been granted R20 000 bail and five Housing Development Agency employees have been granted bail of R10 000 each.

The bail application for businesswoman Constance Mohlala and her co-accused was submitted in sworn affidavits.

The Talana project manager, Raymond Maoto, was arrested in Polokwane with Mohlala last week.

The other co-accused, Simphiwe Maphisa, Tsokollo Monareng, Lerato Lekhutso and the acting supply chain manager at the HDA, Jeremiah Makofane, presented themselves at their nearest police stations in Johannesburg.

The state did not oppose bail for any of the suspects, indicating that members of the Hawks had verified all their addresses. The state also told the court that the suspects had handed over their travel documents.

The state then called investigating officer Tshimangadzo Makhavhu to the witness stand. Makhavhu testified that the accused have been co-operating with the police. Makhavhu also stated that profiles of the suspects had been completed, adding that none of them had pending cases or any prior convictions against them.

Each of the suspects are facing three charges of fraud, three of theft as well as three more of forgery. The charges relate to the awarding of a tender to erect 40 shacks at the densely populated Talana Hostel, to the Aventino Group.

It is alleged that the company submitted fraudulent documents relating to the number of people it employs – but despite this, it was awarded the tender.

The suspects include the company’s owner.

The case has been postponed to March next year.

Uproar over the housing project

Meanwhile, the Limpopo government has sought to provide further details on the 40 shacks it has handed to the Talana Hostel dwellers in Tzaneen.

Premier Stan Mathabatha flanked by the Acting Director-General of the National Department of Human Settlements, Joseph Leshabe, hosted a press briefing in Polokwane and reiterated that the shacks were a temporary measure aimed at relieving overcrowding at the hostel.

Limpopo government provides further details on the shack project:

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