Toilet tender with protector: Daily Dispatch

DA and EFF each urge Thuli Madonsela’s office to probe Siyenza

AMATHOLE district municipal manager Chris Magwangqana may soon have to answer to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on the award of a R631-million sanitation tender to the Siyenza Group.

Calls have been made for Madonsela to initiate a probe into how the Gautengbased company was awarded the tender.

DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the Eastern Cape have written to Madonsela’s office calling for an “urgent” probe into the multimillionrand tender.

This follows an exposé by the Saturday Dispatch which revealed that the Siyenza Group – which was hand-picked and awarded the lucrative tender – has links to several high-ranking national ANC leaders, including ANC secretarygeneral Gwede Mantashe’s wife Nolwandle Mantashe, President Jacob Zuma’s son-in-law Lonwabo Sambudla, Mantashe’s son Buyambo Mantashe and Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu’s son Boitumelo Itholeng.

ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane could not comment yesterday as he was in meetings.

Public Protector spokesman Oupa Segalwe confirmed receiving the EFF complaint but could not immediately confirm receiving the DA complaint.

“As with all new matters, this complaint will be assessed for jurisdiction and merit before the Public Protector decides whether or not to investigate.

“This process usually takes up to five working days. We are still on the lookout for another complaint.”

Siyenza was awarded the tender without going through the supply chain management processes. This was despite the municipality having already appointed four companies that responded to adverts to supply material for the project.

Magwangqana had told the Dispatch that due to limited time-frames set by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) another process of appointing – section 32 of the supply chain management regulations – was used.

The DBSA has disputed his claims on time-frames.

In a letter dated yesterday Maimane describes the request as “urgent” and asks for an investigation into “alleged irregularities surrounding the awarding of a R631-million contract to Siyenza Group.”

Maimane requests the Public Protector to investigate:

● The justification for appointing Siyenza Group without going to tender;

● Why the contract was given to Siyenza despite four existing suppliers having previously been appointed;

● The reasons Siyenza was deemed uniquely qualified to build toilets; and

● Whether payments to Siyenza correspond with work already completed on the project.

Maimane said it was disgraceful that directors at Siyenza had allegedly been splurging on luxury cars and lavish parties while people went without toilets.

“In the coming weeks I will be working with the DA Eastern Cape leadership to expose the full extent of this brazen profiteering from government contracts by top-ranking ANC leaders and their families,” he said.

Maimane’s counterpart in the Bhisho legislature, Athol Trollip, said the party was also going to approach the Eastern Cape legislature, National Council of Provinces and the Auditor-General to conduct probes into the matter.

EFF provincial convener Simcelile Rubela also called on Madonsela to probe whether the political links that the company had were reasons for its appointment.

“The Public Protector must make it known to the public if the political influence and connections the individuals attached to this tender had been used to push the municipality to deliberately flout supply chain management policies,” Rubela said.

The Dispatch first sent questions to ADM regarding the project on January 29 and all nine were answered. Another set of 11 questions were then sent but only three were answered.

Among the questions not answered were:

● What is the involvement of ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe’s wife Nolwandle in the project?

● Has ADM verified if Siyenza Group has the capacity to carry out the work? and

● Has Siyenza Group received any money for the work? If so how much, when was the money paid and for what?

Provincial South African Communist Party spokesman Siyabonga Mdodi said: “If these reports are true, it once again represents a bad example of how individual business people and relatives of leaders can wittingly or unwittingly use their proximity to leaders of the movement to have an unfair advantage compared to other business people.” — Additional reporting by Asanda Nini