“They robbed us of our daily bread”

Hawks arrest Buffalo City officials accused of stealing R30-m meant for food vouchers

Mkhuseli Sizani

Bukiwe May of Mdantsane NU 3 in East London is delighted that the Hawks raided the Buffalo City Municipality on Thursday morning. 

She says municipal officials made residents suffer while lockdown “robbed us of our daily bread”, and alleges officials also diverted food vouchers to their friends.

The Hawks raided the municipality over corruption allegations involving R30-million meant for food vouchers.

Bukiwe told Scrolla.Africa on Thursday how the promised food voucher scheme had left her family empty handed.

“A ward committee member from ward 14 councillor’s office came to my house and said he was registering all the business people for food vouchers who couldn’t generate income due to lockdown. 

“He registered me because I am well known here for going to Durban and Joburg to buy clothes and resell them,” she said adding that because of the lockdown she couldn’t run her clothing business.

“The last time I did business was in February before the lockdown and since then I have been battling to make ends meet. 

“Our leaders gave the food vouchers to their own favourite people. These vouchers were between R700 and R750. They were meant for us to buy food at Spar. But I never received them. I was told they were finished and I will get food when the government issues the food parcels,” she said. 

Bukiwe never received anything. 

She says she is happy about the investigation and “the Hawks must dig deep. They must arrest them because they made us suffer”.

Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said “the team confiscated documents and electronic equipment which contains information to further the investigation. The allegations are that supply chain processes were flaunted by the Supply Chain Manager with 18 service providers in the procurement of food vouchers for Covid-19.”

The municipality welcomed the investigation and promised to cooperate. Spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said “we are in a position to account for every cent spent on every store during this hunger relief programme and we can track every invoice submitted.”

Picture source: Supplied