Investigate my department – Motsepe
Cooperative Governance MEC in Limpopo Clifford Motsepe has requested the Public Protector and the Auditor-General to probe allegations that his department had unfairly awarded contracts worth R900 million to Julius Malema’s friends.
This follows media reports saying officials in Motsepe’s office had tampered with tender documents of some of the bidders for the multi-million housing projects in order to disqualify them, in favour of companies owned by Malema’s friends.
The report, published in The Star, further claims officials deliberately withheld the bank guarantees of some of the bidding companies, resulting in them being disqualified for failure to meet the necessary requirements.
The officials had also allegedly increased the required bank guarantees from R30 000 to R100 000 in an effort to exclude other bidders.
In a statement Motsepe said: “Upon reading the article I wrote to the AG and the Public Protector requesting that they investigate the appointment of these service providers, as well as the allegation of impropriety against officials in the department of which I am political head, I have asked the AG and the Public Protector to investigate these allegations not because I believe them to be true, but because I have every reason to believe that they are false.”
He said the companies were appointed on the basis of price, track record and other criteria and not because of who they are or who they know.
He also criticised the report for suggesting the tenders were hastily awarded a day after President Jacob Zuma had secured a second term in Mangaung, fearing rumours that Zuma would rid the Limpopo administration of supporters of Malema and Premier Cassel Mathale.
“The department was at work throughout the festive season – because of its commitment to ensuring service delivery – and we had a job to complete, just as we have done in previous years. The date in question – December 19 – was a working day, or was it not?”
The companies said to have benefited from the contracts include known Malema associates businessman Selby Manthata and his wife, Helen Moreroa, Ali Boshielo, Matome Hlabioa, Collins Foromo and Mohammed Dada. However, Motsepe said a total of 55 companies benefited from the tenders.
Manthata and Moreroa are co-accused in the fraud and corruption case against Malema.
Limpopo, Motsepe said, is the only province in the country which dishes out housing contracts to as many as 55 companies.
“Some provinces, which I won’t mention, dish out a contract to build 3 000 units to one company. You will never see that here. We share and spread the work to as many contractors as possible.”
The contractors who were supposed to move on site in March, he said, will now have to wait until the A-G and the Public Protector had complete their investigations.
“We are ready to start afresh (with the appointment of new contractors) if it is found that the contracts were not awarded according to the law,” Motsepe said.
He distributed a letter to the media, from the Public Protector to his office, exonerating the department of allegations that it had awarded tenders to companies which had links to Malema.
In October 2011 the Public Protector initiated a probe in Motsepe’s department following allegations that companies whose owners had links to Malema had benefited from multi-million tenders in the department.