Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has responded to weekend media reports concerning the awarding of a tender to an emerging KZN businessman to supply infrastructure for former Nelson Mandela’s memorial services, saying they are “unfounded and false”.

Mabuza said though his office cannot comment on the ’contractor-subcontractor arrangement’ but it is not true that tender rules were not followed when awarding the tender to businesswoman Carol Bouwer and businessman Mabheleni Ntuli to organise Mandela’s memorial services.

Over the weekend, the Sunday Times reported that the police’s elite crime unit, the Hawks, are investigating the awarding of the tender by Mabuza’s government to Bouwer’s event management company” following a complaint reportedly lodged by National Treasury [that] Bouwer’s company was appointed without any tender process being followed”.

Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi was not specific as to what they were investigating but said to the paper that they were “investigating the whole case and process. The investigation is ongoing. Most of the documents have been collected, so the issue now is that we are waiting for the prosecutor to give further instructions”.

In a statement released by his office on Tuesday, barely two days the allegations surfaced, Mabuza said his government did follow all tender rules as prescribed by Treasury.

On 5 December 2013, Madiba was declared lifeless by doctors after he was placed on a life-support machine for several months.

The Premier said the memorial services that took place soon after Mandela passed away across Mpumalanga provinces were events that were ”classified as unforeseen, unavoidable, as the provincial government could not predict death”.

This made it “impractical” to follow all tender procedures “due to time limitations.”

“We wish to state however that the provincial government followed all the supply chain processes prescribed in the National Treasurer Practice Note 8 of 2007/2008 which states that should it be impractical to invite competitive bids for specific procurement, for example in urgent cases, the Accounting Officer may procure the required goods or services, such as price quotation or negotiation in accordance with Treasurer Regulation,” he said.

Therefore “at no point has the Mpumalanga government failed to cooperate with National Treasury” and as government they view this as a deliberate attempt to project the provincial government in the negative light, Mabuza’s office said.

READ – DA welcomes investigation into Mandela Memorial tender

The Sunday Times said Bouwer’s event management company was paid R39m as a main contractor to organise the memorial services across Mpumalanga and Bouwer in return paid Mabheleni Ntuli R18m as a sub-contractor. Then Ntuli deposited R55 000 to one of President Jacob Zuma’s wives, MaNtuli, on 31 December 2013, the paper said.

“Just days after receiving payment, Ntuli went on a shopping spree at the RMD Group in Ballito, north of Durban, which sells Jaquars, BMWs, Land Rovers and other luxury vehicles,” the paper said.

“Ntuli made three payments amounting to R5 million to the car dealership,” it said.

(edited by ZK)