'Greedy' city official pocketed R439k meant for poor litter-pickers

28 November 2018 - 17:40 By SIYAMTANDA CAPA
Pumeza Schumacher in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on November 27 2018.
Pumeza Schumacher in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on November 27 2018.
Image: Siyamthanda Capa

Public health official Pumeza Schumacher, who stole hundreds of thousands of rands meant for litter-pickers to clean Nelson Mandela Bay wards, will have to wait until December 6 to be sentenced.

The former community liaison officer, who is out on bail, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and was convicted immediately in September.

She stole money to the tune of R439,398 over four years.

Schumacher created ghost litter-pickers and set up two accounts for the money to be paid into.

Invoices detailing how Schumacher spent the money on clothes and entertainment, among other things, were presented to the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Tuesday as arguments were made in mitigation and aggravation of sentencing.

In the state’s heads of argument, prosecutor Leigh-Anne Pillay-Sehlale said the crime was committed in a deliberate and persistent manner.

Schumacher created two bank accounts which she used “solely for receiving the illicit money and that no other money was received in these accounts”.

Schumacher earned a salary of more than R20,000 a month and had a car allowance to pay for her VW Touran while her house was fully paid for by her husband.

“Her greed was such that she placed her employer at risk by defrauding a budget that was set aside for the poorest of the poor — litter-pickers who earned meagre wages.”

Schumacher started working for the municipality as a depot clerk in 2007 and was promoted to community liaison officer in 2013.

- HeraldLIVE