Cederburg Municipality manager, Henry George Slimmered, was on Thursday released on R20 000 bail by a Western Cape magistrate following his arrest for alleged corruption related to the procurement of COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE).
Slimmered was on Wednesday arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) following investigations by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
In a statement, the SIU said it had also laid a criminal charge of interfering with its investigation.
This comes after Slimmered allegedly issued a memo instructing employees of the municipality not to cooperate with the SIU investigators, and to deny them access to municipal premises.
"The SIU raided the Cederburg Municipality offices in September 2020, in line with Proclamation No.23 of 2020, signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, authorising the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in procurement of PPE for COVID-19 in government institutions and entities of the State," the SIU said.
On top of instructing employees not to cooperate, the municipality took the SIU to court, claiming the Unit raided municipal offices unlawfully without proclamation but later withdrew the court challenge.
As part of his bail condition, Slimmered was ordered to report twice a week at the local police station. He was also ordered to hand over all his passports to the investigating officer, always be available to a police sergeant, and not interfere, directly or indirectly, with the investigation regarding the obstruction and defeating the ends of justice.
The Citrasdal Magistrate Court also ordered Slimmered not to intimidate, directly or indirectly, municipal employees, not withhold documents in possession of the municipality, which form part of the investigation and matters before court.
"[He is] not to communicate with municipal employees pertaining the SIU investigation and matter before court," the SIU said.
Beyond this, Slimmered was ordered not to appoint an official who will communicate directly and indirectly with employees of Cederburg Municipality to carry out any or all official municipality duties and functions on all matters relating to the SIU investigation.
The SIU said Slimmered's arrest and subsequent court appearance should send a clear message to all public representatives and public servants that any action that is aimed at interfering or obstructing the SIU in carrying out its mandate will have severe consequences.
"The SIU is a forensic and litigation agency tasked with the mandate of investigating serious malpractice, malfeasance and maladministration in relation to the administration of State institutions, State assets and public money, as well as any conduct which may seriously harm the interest of the State and the public," said the SIU.