Corruption and looting of as much as R78 million from the state are affecting service delivery in the ANC-run Harry Gwala District Municipality, the Moerane Commission heard on Wednesday.
Thabiso Zulu, former ANCYL regional secretary in the ANC's Harry Gwala Region, told the commission investigating political killings in KwaZulu-Natal that he had tried numerous times to fight corruption but "was let down by police".
Zulu, a self-proclaimed "anti-corruption crusader", told the commission that he had documents proving that some senior officials and councillors in the district were looting millions of rands.
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The Harry Gwala District Municipality is made up of the Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Umzimkhulu, Greater Kokstad and Ubuhlebezwe municipalities.
Zulu said since "fraudulently" losing his position as regional secretary in 2008, he has engaged with senior members of the ANC in KZN trying to give them evidence about corruption and factionalism in the region.
He said they have failed to unite the ANC in that region and also failed to bring an end to corruption there.
Five ANC officials have been murdered in the region in 2017.
Most of them have been reportedly killed for their role in fighting corruption in the region.
Nkosinathi Ngcobo, an employee at the Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Municipality, was shot dead by unknown assailants at his home in Bulwer last Monday.
Ngcobo, a former ANC branch chairperson, was employed as a clerk responsible for the councillors in the municipality.
His death followed that of former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, who died in hospital in September after being shot on July 13.
Two female Umzimkhulu councillors who were with Magaqa on the day he was shot survived the shooting.
In April, Harry Gwala ANC region deputy secretary and Umzimkhulu Municipality speaker Khaya Thobela was shot dead. In May, former Umzimkhulu councillor and branch leader Khaya Mgcwaba was gunned down.
Later that month, Mduduzi Tshibase' a teacher and Umzimkhulu councillor was killed at his home in Umzimkhulu.
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Zulu said he was ANCYL regional secretary at the same time Magaqa was still the ANCYL regional chair.
Both of them lost their positions in 2008, the commission heard.
"We ruffled feathers when we were still in those positions because we questioned every decision taken by senior leaders of the ANC in the region," he said.
He said three current female councillors in the district had in 2014 "looted from the state through defrauding [the SA Social Security Agency]".
"They were getting grants for their kids, which is against the law. That money should have been used for helping poor children and elderly people," he said.
He said he had taken the matter up with the ANC.
"They were never removed. They remain councillors because they offered to pay back the money," he said.
Zulu said about R78m, which was supposed to be used for youth development projects under the Sisonke Development Agency, was "looted".
Failed by police
He said he has documents which are proof of how companies are paid first and appointed later during tender processes in the region.
"We've been let down by police so many times. We have been failed by police in the Harry Gwala region even after we gave them documents as proof. Law enforcement agencies act differently when dealing with politicians," he said.
"Politicians involved in money laundering in the district are connected to bank employees and police." He made an example of one employee who earns R10 000 a month but was one day paid R200 000.
"About 15 minutes after he was paid that money, he received a call from his boss asking him to withdraw it. He withdrew the whole R200 000 and took it to an executive manager. He was not asked any questions at the bank," he said. He suggested that vetting must apply when hiring officials at municipalities "in order to clean corruption in local government".
"A person with three judgments against his name was once a manager at KwaSani municipality [now known as the Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma municipality]. To stop such people from looting and paying their debts with state money, people deployed in such positions must be vetted first," he said.
During Magaqa's memorial service in September, Zulu told mourners that Magaqa was killed because he had documents that would have exposed corruption in the Umzimkhulu municipality.
Zulu is expected to continue his testimony on Thursday.