World

Limpopo municipal official’s wife has R1.4m Mercedes-Benz seized

Pretoria – The high court in Limpopo has ordered the seizure of a Mercedes-Benz GLE 350d coupé registered in the name of Paulinah Mmapule Malepa, the wife of David Kgantshi Malepa, a deputy manager at the scandal-riddled Mogalakwena Local Municipality, outside Polokwane, the NPA said on Tuesday.

“This follows an application by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the National Prosecuting Authority in Polokwane for a preservation of property order. 

“The said Mercedes-Benz motor vehicle is believed to be the proceeds of unlawful activities, namely extortion and money laundering,” said NPA regional spokesperson in Limpopo Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi.

In the papers before the court, it was revealed that during 2017 a number of service providers of the Mogalakwena Local Municipality were “coerced” into paying money to Mercurius Motors in Polokwane for the purchase of the controversial Mercedes-Benz GLE.

“David Kgantshi Malepa, the deputy manager for technical services, threatened the service providers to pay money into the account numbers he had provided to the said service providers, failing which he would not authorise payments for the services they rendered to the municipality,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.

“The service providers paid the total amount of R1.4m to Mercurius Motors for the purchase of the said Mercedes- Benz motor vehicle. David Kgantshi Malepa registered the Mercedes-Benz motor vehicle in the name of his wife, Paulinah Mmapule Malepa who is employed as a teacher by the Department of Basic Education.”

Malabi-Dzhangi said the preservation of property order was obtained as a result of “excellent co-operation” between the NPA and the Hawks.

“This case reinforces law enforcement’s commitment to ensuring that no person should benefit from crime. 

“The NPA welcomes the order, and asset forfeiture remains an effective law enforcement mechanism to ensure that no person should benefit from crime, and to ensure that crime does not pay,” she said.

Mogalakwena Local Municipality has been in the spotlight due to poor governance and alleged rampant corruption.

Last year, labour unions called on the premier of Limpopo to act against those fingered in corruption following the murder of Vaaltyn Kekana, who was a high-ranking official at the municipality.

At the time, Public Servants Association of South Africa Limpopo provincial manager John Teffo said the killing was believed to be related to the imminent forensic report after the Mogalakwena municipality incurred more than R1.1bn in fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the previous financial year.

Last month, after months of bad publicity amid the alleged misappropriation of millions of rand, The Citizen newspaper reported that Jabu Mashamaite, deputy manager of corporate services at the Mogalakwena municipality, had been accused of misrepresenting his qualifications when he was appointed about four years ago.

In February, the Hawks raided the municipality’s offices and seized several documents as part of an investigation into alleged tender fraud and corruption.

The SABC reported that non-compliance in the supply chain and municipal finances resulted in the municipality incurring an unauthorised expenditure of nearly R3 billion (about US$180 million) in the past three financial years.

African News Agency

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