A series of raids have been conducted by the Hawks at Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani’s home and office.
Bobani’s lawyer, Danie Gouws, confirmed the Hawks raided his client’s office at the City Hall in Port Elizabeth, as well as his home, on Tuesday. He said police had confiscated Bobani’s wife’s laptop during the raid.
“My client cooperated with them. It was just a witch hunt. In my view, it’s done before the elections because certain political parties attack other political parties. I was present with the search. What I know is that they only took his wife’s laptop at his house,” he said.
A source in the Hawks said the directorate for priority crime investigation was in the process of conducting a series of raids on Bobani. He said the raids were scheduled to be conducted over three days, starting on Tuesday.
The directorate’s spokesperson, Hangwani Mulaudzi, confirmed the raids.
“We can confirm we are conducting a search [and] seizure in relation to allegations of procurement fraud, corruption, money laundering and theft [at] the Nelson Mandela municipality,” Mulaudzi said in text message.
In October last year, the Hawks made their first move against Bobani, raiding his office. The raid resulted in the seizure of documents and computers, Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi told journalists at the time.
Mulaudzi said arrests were imminent. It was reported that the Hawks were investigating the municipality’s integrated public transport system (IPTS).
The raid led to a series of motions of no confidence against the United Democratic Movement (UDM) mayor by the Democratic Alliance-led alliance in the metro. A well-placed source said this week’s raids were unrelated to the IPTS system.
Gouws said he didn’t know why the Hawks were pursuing his client.
“Its now every second week. They seem to be getting permission from other political parties, it’s unnecessary. We looked at the paper work and nothing was found. The police were professional, I must say. He has maintained that his office is always open.”
Gouws said this raid was related to a case that was opened at the Humewood police station in the western suburbs of Port Elizabeth.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said Bobani would have to face the music if he was found to have acted against the law.
“So far, we don’t know why they are raiding. This is not the first time they went to that office. For them to continue to raid and raid without charging people, the image of their institution will be questioned. It will only be the day when Bobani is appearing in court where we can confirm the seriousness of the charges. I wish that this matter can be put to rest once the NPA has finally made their final determination,” Holomisa said.
According to News24, five municipal officials linked to the health portfolio have apparently been taken in by the authorities.
Bobani was the mayoral committee member for health before he became mayor.
It is unclear if these arrests are related to the raids being carried out by the Hawks. — News24