Picture: for illustration purposes

High-Profile Trial Commences in R24m Toilet Tender Fraud Case

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The spotlight is cast upon the public sector as Nelson Mandela Bay’s City Manager, Noxolo Nqwazi, appeared before the Gqeberha commercial crimes court on Monday. A line of co-accused flanked her, consisting of influential politicians and business owners. The infamous trial had officially commenced, shedding light on a high-profile case of alleged toilet tender fraud, valued at R24.6 million.

Nqwazi, along with suspended Human Settlements Head, Mvuleni Mapu, ANC regional secretary Luyolo Nqakula, and former DA councillors Mbulelo Manyathi, Trevor Louw, and Neville Higgins have been charged with fraud, money laundering, corruption, and violating the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

The list of co-accused extends beyond politics to the business sector with Xolani Masela, his wife Nwabisa, owners of Thuthiko Logistics, their director-daughter Nonpumezo Ngotsha and Morne van der Linde, of HT Pelatona Projects PTY LTD, also implicated.

The main allegation revolves around the reported abuse of procurement processes during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is asserted that Nqwazi and Mapu exploited the crisis to enrich themselves and others by bypassing standard procedures to award a R24.6 million tender to HT Pelatona Projects for building 2,000 toilets in the Bay area.

Allegedly, Nqwazi and Mapu falsely represented that quotes were obtained from two other suppliers before settling on Van Der Linde's company. Court documents also state that a substantial amount of R300,000 was purportedly paid into Nqakula’s account on April 28, 2020, who in turn, is believed to have distributed R100,000 to each of the accounts of Manyathi, Louw, and Higgins.

The trial kicked off to a defiant start with all accused pleading not guilty. The court will be hearing the case until Friday, unveiling the complexities of the high-profile scandal.

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