The Pietermaritzburg High Court has sentenced the former head of the KwaZulu-Natal Treasury Sipho Shabalala to 15 years imprisonment for fraud and corruption.
Shabalala was convicted when he proposed that government buy water purification plants from Uruguay businessman Gaston Savoi at an inflated price of R44 million in 2006.
In handing down her sentence, Judge Dhaya Pillay said the purchase was not value for money and that most municipalities can’t afford to maintain the purification plants.
On charges of money laundering Shabalala was sentenced to 10 years, and 5 years for contravening the Public Finance Management Act. The sentences will be served concurrently.
In handing down her sentence, Judge Pillay said the illegal use of money from a fund for poverty alleviation to buy water purification plants is akin to treason because it sabotages the constitutional project for people to attain freedom from poverty and inequality.
Judge Pillay further said Shabalala’s age of 56 years and his poor health are the only reasons why she did not impose a sentence harsher than the minimum 15 years in prison for corruption.
Shabalala’s R100 000 bail has been extended until the Pietermaritzburg High Court hears his application for leave to appeal next week Tuesday.