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State witnesses live in fear after exposing corruption in City of Cape Town housing tender

As the country marks the first ­anniversary of the assassination of whistle-blower Babita Deokaran, a state witness in a multimillion-rand City of Cape Town housing tender fraud case is living in fear after receiving death threats.

A crime activist has alleged fraud and corruption in the repair and maintenance of City owned units. File Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency/ANA

 

Nandi du Toit, director of engineering consulting company Du Toit Consulting, has broken her silence after the harassment and threats escalated this week, with suspicions that her movements and phone conversations were being monitored.

“They want to get rid of me so that I do not testify against the company involved in the fraud. I have decided to leave Cape Town,” said Du Toit.

She said in March she had requested protection from the state but was told that she did not need it.

Despite repeated emails to the investigating team, no action had been taken yet, added Du Toit.

Instead, she was allegedly told by one of the investigators that she could “either go sit in Robben Island and receive no income or carry on with my life”.

“What if something happens to me? What will happen to the case if there are no state witnesses?” she asked.

body.copy…: Du Toit alleged her company and her name were used to commit fraud in a multi-million rand tender awarded to a construction company by the City for maintenance and repair of rental housing units across the Cape Flats.

As an engineer, her duties included signing off on projects and issuing certificates bearing her signature as proof that the work met the required standards.

“I was subcontracted by the company in 2020 to render engineering services on a City term tender project.

“I was told I would have to work on 200 roofs on units across the Cape Flats. But I was sent paperwork for 50 roofs. When I wanted to do an inspection, I was told that it was not safe for me to do so, as these units were in Elsies River, Mitchells Plain and other areas on the Cape Flats. I was instead sent pictures to sign off,“ said Du Toit.

She also alleged that her company’s name and her name were used ­fraudulently to claim money for work she was not involved in, or aware of, without her approval.

“I have since been reliably told that there are other subcontractors whose invoices were inflated. For example, if the subcontractor invoiced the company R50, they edited it and changed it to around R50 000 and would submit the latter to the City. After paying the subcontractor the original amount, they then keep the rest.”

When Du Toit raised concerns regarding the fraudulent practice, all hell broke loose.

“The company allegedly unleashed a campaign of vendetta and harassment to discredit me and tarnish my company’s reputation. They have told me I don’t know who I am messing with.

“I was also told that they could either open or close doors for me in Cape Town. I was told I must choose which side I want to be on.”

She also alleged that an unemployed engineer was hired to harass her and engage in tactics to end her business.

Du Toit opened a case against the engineer, Christiaan de Witt, who is due to return to the Somerset West Magistrate’s Court on charges of harassment on September 12.“I have to watch my back. I know that someone has been ordered to take me out. It feels like I need to change my identity to continue with my life.“

Du Toit said her experience also highlighted the vulnerability of women in the construction sector.

“As women in construction we are used and abused. I was used to commit fraud, and I want to empower women so they can have a voice.”

Du Toit also alleged that statements alluding to assassination of crime ­activist Hanif Loonat were made in her presence by some of the company’s employees.

The alleged tender corruption within the City is also highlighted in a High Court civil case involving a construction firm, Good Hope Construction (GHC), whose director, Ismail Rajah, was

kidnapped from his company’s offices in March.

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