Quick convictions a priority for recent eThekwini metro arrests
The latest series of arrests of eThekwini Metro employees, councillors and their accomplices involved in alleged crimes of fraud and corruption, must be dealt with swiftly by the criminal justice system if the country is serious about uprooting corruption and malfeasance, says the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA).
OUTA KZN Provincial Manager Tim Tyrrell said the Wednesday blitz by the Hawks’ Clean Audit Task Team (CATT) that saw 15 people arrested for their alleged role in a R208-million tender scam involving the city’s waste management arm Durban Solid Waste, was welcomed but added that unless South Africans started to see convictions of high-profile individuals who provided the political cover for these alleged crimes to take place, public confidence in the criminal justice system would continue to decline.
“Citizens have a massive trust deficit with regards to the criminal justice system as too often high-ranking politicians escape serious censure for their involvement in serious financial crimes while junior or mid-level bureaucrats take the fall,” said Tyrrell.
Tyrrell said with the latest arrests being linked to the criminal matter involving eThekwini Metro’s former mayor Zandile Gumede, it was imperative that a “watertight case be presented to the court in order to avoid unnecessary delays to the start of the trial”.
“The successful conviction and sentencing of those involved is a must if we are to hold guilty municipal officials accountable,” said Tyrrell.