The phones of the IFP's eMadlangeni Municipality Mayor Mzwakhe Buthelezi and municipal manager Grace Mavundla were hacked, cloned and spied on from May to July, according to a confidential information technology report.

News24 reports that case numbers indicate that the police were approached this month.

On 30 May, in an incident that exposed the municipality's vulnerabilities, it issued a statement to warn the public about ‘a con artist’ who had hacked Mavundla's phone and emails.

The technical report was compiled by Umnotho Tradings and paints a picture of a hacker or hackers who had free rein over the Utrecht-based municipality's network and devices.

The report stated: ‘Our investigation took an even more disconcerting turn as we probed into the mobile devices of both the mayor and the municipal manager. Shockingly, our analysis revealed that both essential communication tools had fallen victim to hacking attempts. In the case of the municipal manager's device, we discovered evidence of a sophisticated attack – it had been cloned, an act that involves creating an identical replica of the device.’

IT specialists involved in compiling the report said the ‘dual breach’ of the mayor and municipal manager's mobile devices ‘underscores the gravity’ of the situation.

The specialists said it highlighted the need for ‘urgent and comprehensive security measures to safeguard’ the municipality's communications and data integrity.

Full News24 report