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South Africa: Public Protector Must Investigate


AllAfrica.com

July 15th, 2012

PRESS RELEASE

According to reports today, the ANC‘s former parliamentary Chief Whip signed a “blank cheque” contract with EduSolutions, the company at the centre of the Limpopo textbooks crisis, to do business with the ANC in Parliament.

This is the latest in a series of reports which raise serious questions about the links between EduSolutions and the ANC and whether it was the company’s political connections that led to it receiving a number of state contracts.

I will be writing to the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, to request that the relationship between the ANC and EduSolutions is subjected to a full investigation.

Numerous links have been reported to exist between EduSolutions and the ANC.

These include:

African Access Holdings, the holding company of EduSolutions, is a key donor to Zuma’s RDP Education Trust

EduSolutions founder and CEO Shaun Battlemann has links to President Zuma as a “champion” of his education trust, Mr Battleman also reportedly has links to Professor John Volmink, a former top advisor to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, and former ANC Chief Whip Mbulelo Goniwe, who was reportedly responsible for signing off on EduSolutions’ “blank cheque” contract to do business with the ANC in Parliament.

Brand Talk, a fellow subsidiary of African Access Holdings, was one of the companies implicated in the reported irregular awarding of communications tenders during the tenure of former ANC Premier of the Western Cape, Ebrahim Rasool.

Numerous concerns have been raised about the awarding of the Limpopo textbook contract to EduSolutions, and whether the proper processes were circumvented because of the company’s reported political links.

Problems with the awarding of the tender include:

Allegations that 22 of the 23 tender bids that were received for the Limpopo textbooks deal were disqualified- without any explanation. This left EduSolutions as the sole remaining bidder

A legal opinion, commissioned by the Department of Basic Education and provided to the State on 17 January 2012, stated that complaints of irregularities regarding the awarding of the Limpopo textbooks tender were swept under the carpet, and that it would be “irresponsible for the National Government to continue to give effect to the contract without a proper investigation of the complaints”. However, the opinion was ignored.

The same legal opinion declared that the contract with EduSolutions is “probably invalid” for not complying with Section 217 of the Constitution, the Public Finance Management Act and the Treasury. However, the former Limpopo education administrator, Anis Karodia, was actively obstructed from implementing the legal opinion’s recommendations.

There are still too many unanswered questions regarding the awarding of the EduSolutions tender, and the company’s reported political links.

The Public Protector must investigate whether it is political patronage, rather than the needs of our learners, that dictated the awarding of this tender.

Annette Lovemore, Shadow Minister of Basic Education


South Africa: Protector fingers former MEC


IOL News

By SAPA

February 29, 2012

Former Mpumalanga health MEC Miriam Segabutla displayed improper conduct during her tenure, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Wednesday.

“(Segabutla) acted in a manner that is inconsistent with the position that she occupied and that was not in the best interests of the department,” she said.

Madonsela released the investigation report at a news briefing in Balfour, Mpumalanga.

Segabutla, who was MEC of health and social development, has since been appointed as South Africa’s ambassador to Cuba.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint lodged with Madonsela’s office, in June 2010, relating to the procurement of services for the Limpopo health department.

The complaint related to forensic investigation contracts awarded by the department to Trispen Solutions and Tsepo Technology Consulting. Tsepo’s director, John William Lucas, was related to Segabutla, and Segabutla’s attorney Gert van der Merwe was involved with Trispen.

Madonsela said a perception could have arisen that Lucas might have been favoured in the selection process due to his close relationship with her…Read more.

Fraudulent tenders milk Limpopo treasury (South Africa)


IOL News

By Piet Rampedi

January 29, 2012

The Limpopo education department, which accounted for nearly half of the province’s R2 billion cash-flow crisis, awarded R1.2bn school infrastructure contracts irregularly and fraudulently.

The bulk of the tenders were awarded to associates of Premier Cassel Mathale and ANC youth leader Julius Malema, including Rivoni Properties owner Thulani Nkuna.

The department is led by MEC Dickson Masemola, the provincial ANC deputy chairman, who is a close ally of Mathale and Malema.

Nkuna, a Tzaneen-based businessman, was among a Limpopo government delegation, led by Mathale, that visited Italy on a trade and investment mission last year.

The selected contractors were given the lucrative contracts in exchange for donating piles of cash towards the construction of the Limpopo ANC’s luxury headquarters, according to provincial government, ANC and business sources.

Three independent sources said the contractors were told by senior provincial ANC leaders to help finance the R40 million Frans Mohlala House, funded by unnamed businessmen and officially opened by ANC president Jacob Zuma last January.

The Sunday Independent can today reveal that Tumisho Makofane, the education department’s former general manager for school infrastructure, has resigned amid allegations that he played a central role in manipulating contracts for the benefit of businessmen linked to Mathale and Malema.

Makofane confirmed his resignation on Friday, but denied it was linked to the school infrastructure contracts. He also denied he was joining Aurecon, one of the companies which benefited from the multi-million rand contracts awarded under his watch.

“There is no such thing. I am not responsible for the awarding of tenders. You can come see the documents I have so you can see what the situation is,” said Makofane…Read more.

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