3 Western Cape city officials, another arrested for PPE purchase fraud

Health workers put on personal protective equipment.

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  • The Covid-19 pandemic may be on the wane, but the PPE fraud allegations that surfaced when it all started aren’t over yet.
  • Three Western Cape city officials and a man linked to a PPE supplier appeared in court this week for allegedly trying to resolve a contract.
  • He was spotted by a sharp-eyed municipal colleague.

Four other people were arrested for PPE fraud by the Hawks – this time officials from the municipality of Matzikama on the west coast.

The Hawks’ serious business investigation team in Bellville arrested 50-year-old Izak Edward Jenner, 52-year-old Aldrick Ivan Hendricks, 51-year-old Jafta Booysen and 50-year-old Nicolaas Jacobus Klazen.

They appeared briefly in Vredendal Magistrate’s Court on Thursday after their arrest.

They were charged with fraud for allegedly colluding with a service provider, Duneco CC, which received a tender, allegedly without following proper supply chain management procedures in April 2020.

At the time, the Covid-19 pandemic was in its early stages and there was a nationwide rush for personal protective equipment. Many companies shifted to manufacturing or importing them as demand skyrocketed.

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Since then, the Hawks had made a series of arrests across the country regarding allegations of fraud and corruption that surfaced during the rushed ordering and signing processes.

In this case, Hendricks was a city manager at Matzikama Municipality, Booysen the chief financial officer, while Jenner was a former Covid-19 coordinator at the municipality. Klazen was tied to the service provider.

The defendants were released on bail of R5,000 each with strict conditions. The case was adjourned to July.

It is alleged that the Matzikama Municipality Supply Chain Unit was tasked with procuring PPE when the country entered a strict lockdown below Level 5.

PPE had to be procured urgently, making it possible to deviate from normal procurement processes.

The Hawks alleged that four quotes were obtained, but later two of the quotes were allegedly deleted and replaced with a quote dated two days after the deadline, for Duneco CC’s services.

This was spotted by the supply chain manager.

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Klazen allegedly deposited R3,000 into Hendricks wife’s Capitec Bank account sometime before the incident and Klazen allegedly failed to disclose his relationship with Hendricks.

Anton Bredell, MEC for Western Cape Local Government, said in response to the arrest: “I am grateful that we are seeing the results of the investigation. It sends a strong message to people who misuse council money. and taxpayers.”

The mayor of the municipality of Matzikama, Johan van der Hoven, said he was satisfied that a thorough investigation had taken place into the allegations of corruption and embezzlement.

“The court must now follow the legal process. Until recently, Jenner was still employed by the municipality. He was charged with disciplinary offenses, but before the disciplinary hearing could take place, he resigned.

“The other two, Mr. Aldrick Hendricks and Mr. Jafta Booysen, are respectively the former City Manager and the Chief Financial Officer of the Municipality of Matzikama. I hereby confirm the position of the Municipality and Council that no corruption or maladministration will be tolerated.”

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Melissa C. Keyes