Red flag up over new legislature catering contractor

THE article “Fraud accused wins tender” (Daily Dispatch, October 7) refers. A red flag must be raised over the Bhisho legislature’s new catering contract with Viwe Vazi’s company, Above and Beyond.

Vazi is among the accused who are alleged to have benefited from funds paid by Buffalo City Metro in the Mandela memorial service scandal.

It is astonishing that a service provider continues to be appointed despite facing charges of money laundering and fraud.

This is compounded by the chequered history the Vazi family has had with state institutions and this legislature.

Her mother, Phumla Vazi, was fired as chief financial officer of the department of health in 2011.

Carte Blanche said in an insert on November 13 2011: “Duplicate payments, including this one for nearly R1-million, simply went unnoticed. In total more than R308-million has been siphoned off.

“Among the heads that rolled, is the chief financial officer Phumla Vazi who, from 2007, built up a supply network of companies owned by her husband, daughter, and sister – to which the department paid nearly R7-million.”

As a member of the legislature’s internal arrangements committee, I was very surprised to read about the appointment of Above and Beyond. I had written to the deputy speaker Bulelwa Tunyiswa on October 2 to clarify rumours about the appointment of a new catering service provider. She confirmed that Above and Beyond had been appointed, but failed to respond to my request for the names of the directors of the company. Details of the contractor are not reflected in any minutes of the committee meetings.

One cannot help being more than slightly suspicious about the awarding of this contract considering the above information and sequence of events.

The DA will do all in its power to ensure that all relevant details are made available and to establish whether correct supply chain procedures were followed.

Problems with the current catering contract with PMZ Motel are not entirely of their own doing. The poor management by the legislature, starting with the invasion by staff of the MPL’s dining room and the subsequent mass disappearance of cutlery and crockery from the dining room has exacerbated the current sub-standard service.

By appointing a new contractor, the legislature is simply treating the symptom, instead of the cause. – Edmund van Vuuren, DA MPL, Bhisho