DA welcomes investigation into Mandela Memorial tender

Investigation by the police elite unit, Hawks, into the tender awarded to emerging businessman Mabheleni Ntuli to supply infrastructure for the Mandela Memorial services of the late former President Nelson Mandela across the Mpumalanga province in December 2013 is a step in the right direction, the DA has said.

“This is a step in the right direction as we hope that those found to have benefited through corruption will be prosecuted,” the DA’s Mpumalanga leader James Masango said in a statement on Monday.

“The costs of the memorial services emptied the Premier’s office coffers,” he said, “The legislature was forced to pass the Mpumalanga Special Adjustment Appropriation Bill to replace the money by diverting service delivery funds from social welfare services, public works, roads and transport, cooperative governance and traditional affairs, human settlement and finance departments”.

Over the weekend, the Sunday Times reported that Ntuli was a sub-contractor and was paid R18m by the main contractor – an event management company owned by businesswoman Carol Bouwer – and Ntuli went to buy expensive cars and jewelleries soon after job was done and was paid.

The paper said Bouwer’s company was paid R39m by the Mpumalanga government as the main contractor in order to organise the memorial services following Tata’s death on 5 December 2013.

It is unclear what the Hawks are investigating but the unit’s spokesman, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, said a docket had been opened with the unit’s Anti-Corruption Task Force and “is sitting with the prosecutor for further advice”.

“We are investigating the whole case and process. The investigating is ongoing,” Mulaudzi told the paper, adding most documents have now been collected by investigators, “so we are waiting for the prosecutor to give further instructions if there are any, and then a decision will be taken if they proceed with the prosecution or not”.

Masango said his party welcomes this and will continue to be proactive “in seeking accountability for the mismanagement of taxpayers’s money”.

“The DA submitted written questions to Premier David Mabuza in 2014, which he never answered. Last year we re-submitted questions to explain the amount of money awarded without a tender but the Premier has not responded to date,” Masango said.

Premier Mabuza‘s spokesman Zibonele Mncwango said: “We are working on a media statement with regard to the matter. The Premier will make a formal response”.

(edited by ZK)