Our members are determined to let the internal disciplinary hearings go ahead. They do not fear anything at this stage and would want the process to continue so that they can prove their innocence,” Public Servants Association KwaZulu-Natal manager Claude Naiker was quoted as saying.

Senior department employee Itumeleng Molosi, 58, reportedly pleaded guilty in December to irregularly appointing contractors and flouting procurement procedures.

Molosi would keep his job after the department imposed a two-month suspension without pay and a final written warning.

The newspaper reported that the Special Investigating Unit found that he and other employees approved the appointment of a contractor for the upgrades, who allegedly received R2.2 million more than his quoted figure.

Department of public works spokesman Phillip Mashilo told the newspaper that the latest developments did not change anything for the 11, whose hearings are set for February.