Former Deputy Director General: Fisheries Management in the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Siphokazi Ndudane, appeared at the Bellville Commercial Crimes charged with failing to report fraud she was aware of.

Ndudane is charged with two counts of contravention of Section 34 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004 (PRECCA).

Ndudane, who was arrested yesterday and appeared in court, was granted bail of R100 000 and ordered to surrender all her passports to the investigating officer, on or before 16 August 2023, and to provide the investigating officer with documentary proof of her residential address.

She was appointed on 01 February 2016 as Deputy Director General (DDG) of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), and was a person of authority in terms of PRECCA. One of her responsibilities involved ensuring that she acted in the best interests of the department which included not doing anything that might prejudice the department. PRECCA states that any person in her position, who ought to have known or suspected that any other person has committed an offence of theft, fraud, extortion, uttering or forgery of a document involving an amount of R100 000 or more, must report such knowledge or suspicion to any police official.

Sub-section 2 of the Act makes it a criminal offence if the person in the position of such authority does not comply with this provision of PRECCA.

The State alleges that Wiljarro (Pty) Ltd entered into a contract with DAFF for the processing and marketing of confiscated wild abalone. The company made a misrepresentation to the department, claiming that it had a valid Fish Processing and Establishment Permit to carry out its obligation as per the term of its contract with the department.

On 30 January 2017, Ndudane deposed to an affidavit where she sought an order from the High Court of South Africa: Western Cape Division to, on an urgent basis, set aside an order it granted in favour of the company in connection with the contract. On 17 February 2017, she deposed to a founding affidavit in support of an application to set aside the contract entered between the department and the company. The contract was valued at R2,2m.

In the affidavit she informs the court of the material misrepresentations the company made, which were committed with the sole intention of gaining an undue advantage over other bidders. She failed to report to the police the offence of fraud which was committed by Wiljarro against the department.

In the second charge, the State alleges that Hentiq 234 (Pty) Ltd successfully applied for 2005/ 06 long-term fishing rights to commercially harvest in the Hake Longline, Westcoast Rock Lobster and Small Palegic sectors of the industry and for transport permit.

Between September 2014 and April 2015, the company was informed that its rights were revoked. Minister Senzeni Zokwana upheld the decision around July 2015 after the company lodged an appeal to the minister against the former DDG’s decision. The fishing rights were revoked because the company submitted a fraudulent tax certificate when it applied for the fishing rights. On 01 July 2016, the company sent an offer of settlement to the department following its application to the court. Despite advice from her colleagues, Ndudane instructed the Chief Director: Legal Services to settle the matter. She also did not report this offence of fraud which was committed by the company, to the police. The misrepresentation involved an amount of more than R30,6m.

Her case has been postponed until 19 September 2023 for docket disclosure and defence consultation.

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