Former project manager in the Land Affairs and Rural Development Department, Patrick Masoka, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The former project manager was sentenced in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court for stealing a farm and livestock belonging to the Shabalala clan in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal.
Masoka, then a senior official in the land and claims branch of the Land Affairs Department, was found to have operated criminally by the Special Investigations Unit’s (SIU) forensic investigators.
SIU head Andy Mothibi welcomed the sentence meted out to Masoka.
“This sentence should and will definitely serve as a serious deterrent to would be thieves in the public service.
“Masoka wronged the society by stealing. He also wronged his family and deprived them of the material support he provided when he was employed,” said the SIU head.
Mothibi said stealing by officials from the public purse affected those in need of services.
“Citizens in need of government services suffer immensely when some public servants double up as criminals during the course of their employment in government departments.
“The SIU is poised to strike heavily on government officials found stealing government resources,” he said.
Mothibi urged the SIU forensic investigators to boost their efforts and work collaboratively with other crime busting entities.
The SIU head said this will ensure that offenders who steal from society are promptly brought to book and removed from the system before they deplete government resources.
“Dubious public servants; state owned entities officials and the private sector officials who think devising devious schemes to defraud government and the society, must know that there will be no place to hide when we investigate their malfeasance as the SIU,” said Mothibi. – SAnews.gov.za