Mabuza reacts to Mandela Memorial probe

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has responded to weekend media reportsconcerning the awarding of a tender to an emerging KZN businessman tosupply 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 tenderrules were not followed when awarding the tender to businesswomanCarol Bouwer and businessman Mabheleni Ntuli to organise Mandela’smemorial services.

Over the weekend, the Sunday Times reported that the polices 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] Bouwers 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 afterMandela passed away across Mpumalanga provinces were events that were”classified as unforeseen, unavoidable, as the provincial governmentcould not predict death”.

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

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

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

READ – DA welcomes investigation into Mandela Memorial tender

The Sunday Times said Bouwer’s event management company was paid R39mas a main contractor to organise the memorial services acrossMpumalanga and Bouwer in return paid Mabheleni Ntuli R18m as asub-contractor. Then Ntuli deposited R55 000 to one of President JacobZuma’s wives, MaNtuli, on 31 December 2013, the paper said.

“Just days after receiving payment, Ntuli went on a shopping spree atthe 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 cardealership,” it said.

(edited by ZK)