Street lights worth R1.8 million almost smuggled from eThekwini

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Opposition parties in the eThekwini Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal are demanding answers after two Mozambican nationals were arrested for attempting to smuggle out of the country 52 LED street lights valued at over R1.8 million.

The suspects, aged 31 and 44, were apprehended by the Hawks from Richards Bay Serious Organised Crime Investigation, working in collaboration with the Kosi Bay Border Management Authority (BMA), at the Kosi Bay port of entry.

The incident has sparked outrage among opposition parties, who are calling for a thorough investigation into the matter.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), ActionSA, and the Democratic Alliance (DA) expressed concern over the municipality’s handling of its assets, questioning why the street lights were not installed and how they ended up in the possession of the suspects.

“This is where the city is failing the people,” said Francois Rodgers, the DA leader in KwaZulu-Natal. “We are spending money on assets, but those assets are not being put into use. You have to ask yourself, why?”

Police summoned an Ethekwini municipality official who positively identified the street lights as the property of the Ethekwini Municipality.

Rodgers further questioned why the street lights, purchased in 2019, were not installed, prompting concerns about potential corruption and theft.

“The light fittings were purchased in 2019, why they were not installed, why 5 years later are being stolen, it is just a waste of money, and it opens up to all sorts of corruption and the possibility of theft of that equipment,” Rodgers added.