KZN Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has welcomed two remaining convictions of its former officials in the infamous R7.5-million staff fraud case that rocked the department in 2015.

“The conviction of two former officials and their custody ahead of sentencing sends a strong message that embezzlement of public funds cannot be tolerated,” said KZN MEC for Cogta Sipho Hlomuka. The two officials are Patricia Chule and Hlengiwe Hlela who were previously part of Cogta’s Supply Chain management unit.

The two convictions are in addition to an earlier sentencing of businessman Mex Dladla to 12 years in prison in connection with the same crime. Dladla was the mastermind behind the embezzlement plan facilitated by the department’s two employees.

“The convictions are a boost to building an ethical state by eliminating fraud and corruption among state officials as one of the grimy restraints on the acceleration of service delivery to communities. This is a good day for the whole provincial government” said Hlomuka.

KZN Cogta has in response to this highly publicised fraud case significantly tightened its internal controls over payment procedures to prevent further fraudulent activities among employees. The two convicted officials will be sentenced on 8 November.