- The trial of Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent employee Lizeka Tonjeni proceeds on Thursday.
- Tonjeni is charged with corruption in connection with a multimillion-rand contract awarded to communications company Digital Vibes in 2018.
- She is accused of accepting a R160 000 bribe from Digital Vibes to further the company’s interests.
The trial of Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) employee Lizeka Tonjeni will proceed in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria on Thursday.
On Wednesday morning, Tonjeni’s lawyer told the court that the defence had received five bundles of exhibits from the State, which contained new details.
“We are ready to proceed, but we don’t want to proceed on speculation that everything is in order,” Tonjeni’s lawyer told the court. He refused to give his name to members of the media.
However, prosecutor Willem van Zyl assured the court that there were no new documents in the exhibits.
After a brief adjournment, the defence told the court that they had been brought up to speed and were ready to proceed.
Van Zyl read the charges into the record.
Tonjeni faces a corruption charge for allegedly unlawfully, intentionally and directly or indirectly accepting, agreeing to accept or offering to accept gratifications, whether for her own benefit or the benefit of another person, for acting in a manner.
The charge sheet stated that Tonjeni abused her position of authority, breached trust and violated her legal duty.
“To wit by further and/or having furthered the interests of Digital Vibes and/or the individuals associated with Digital Vibes,” the charge sheet read.
Van Zyl told the court that Tonjeni also faced an alternative charge of violating the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Activities Act.
Before the matter could proceed however, the Xhosa interpreter told the court that he did not fully understand the legal terms of the charges and asked to be excused.
The court postponed the matter to Thursday for a new interpreter.
Tonjeni was arrested in connection with a multimillion-rand contract that was awarded to communications company Digital Vibes in 2018.
She is accused of accepting a bribe of R160 000 from Digital Vibes to further the company’s interests.
It is alleged that the money was paid to her while she was the project manager of the contract.
“The payments received by the accused were not due to her and were not authorised,” the charge sheet read.
MISA falls under the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), and at the time, Zweli Mkhize was the Cogta minister.
One of the indirect owners of Digital Vibes, Tahera Mather, was his spokesperson.
According to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), Mather and Naadhira Mitha were the actual owners of Digital Vibes, even though the company was registered in the name of a petrol station manager in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal.
Digital Vibes has also been the subject of an investigation into a R150 million Department of Health tender.
The SIU found that the contract was irregular and unlawful and that Mkhize and his family had benefitted from the tender.