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Africa's Public Procurement & Entrepreneurship Research Initiative – APPERI

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Public Protector

SA watchdog slams ‘flawed and unlawful’ procurement process


Supply Management

By Will Green

September 8, 2013

The public protector in South Africa has called for cash to be recovered after R15 million ($1.5 million) was “irregularly spent” in the procurement of legal services.

Thuli Madonsela said the amounts charged by legal firm Morake Inc were “unconscionable” for services provided to the Department of Finance of the North West Provincial Government (NWPG).

Morake was appointed in connection with disciplinary action against three employees in 2011, but an investigation by the public protector found R500,000 ($49,530) was spent just drafting charges against the trio.

Madonsela said the procurement process was “flawed, unlawful and in violation of the constitution and the National Treasury regulations” and said disciplinary action should be taken against all the officials involved.

A related investigation is taking place concerning a member of the executive committee of the NWPG and their relationship with Morake, while Madonsela said action should be taken against the attorney in the case if misconduct is discovered.

The public protector, the Public Service Commission, the auditor-general and the South African Police have all been asked to investigate the matter by the North West Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA).

Madonsela said: “Morake Inc were initially procured for half a million for drafting the charges, thereafter their services were expanded. That was irregular. Morake Inc further double-charged the department on some of the invoices, particularly for travelling.

The law society should check the billing by Morake Inc and check if this was consistent with professional requirements, and if any money was overbilled it should be repaid, and if there was misconduct by the attorney in this regard it should be dealt with, because this was a junior attorney with four years’ experience.”

SCOPA chairman Hlomane Chauke said the committee was “happy” with the report.

“This matter will not end here, things that need to be referred to police will be. Both the speaker and the premier will receive a copy of the report and it will be tabled in the provincial legislature.”

Morake Inc could not be reached for a comment, and SM is awaiting a response from the NWPG

Corruption Watch queries R13m tender


www.oil.co.za  Business Report

By SAPA

June 21, 2012

A Corruption Watch probe has found irregularities in a R13 million tender awarded by the department of transport (DOT), the civil society organisation said on Thursday.

The department had awarded a tender to a company which had not fulfilled all the necessary requirements, and overpaid for services by R10 million, it said in a statement.

Global Interface Consultancy won a tender to manage conference and communication services for the department of transport’s international investor conference in June last year.

It had submitted a bid for R13.5 million.

Losing bidder Indigo Design and Event Marketing bid R3.837 million – about one-quarter of the winning bid.

Indigo Design, a BEE-accredited company, lodged complaints with the department, the Public Protector, and Corruption Watch (CW).

“CW’s further investigation into the DOT tender award revealed gross irregularities in the tender process,” Corruption Watch said.

Corruption Watch had handed over its findings, as well as two cases involving irregular public tenders, to the Public Protector for further investigation.

It was in the process of formalising a working relationship with the Protector.

“We will closely monitor the cases that we hand over to the Public Protector and we will assist her office with further evidence and information gathered from the public,” said executive director David Lewis.

“It should be stressed that this case and each of the serious acts of corruption that we are investigating were reported by alert members of the public.”

Comment from the department could not be immediately obtained. – Sapa

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


$10m paid back to South African government


www.iafrica.com

By Mandy Wiener

July 9th, 2012

The Defence Ministry confirmed on Saturday that $10-million (about R82-million) that was put down as a deposit for a R2-billion Boeing 777 jet, has been paid back to South Africa.

The payment was made after Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced the process to procure the new R2-billion Boeing 777 luxury jet for the president was cancelled.

Mapisa-Nqakula on Friday appealed to the public to give her a chance to deal with the sensitive issue of transporting state officials.

The problem of transporting VVIPS has long plagued the defence ministry.

Mapisa-nqakula said the ministry is seeking legal advice on the status of the process to lease planes to transport state officials.

The minister was evasive about who had been driving the procurement process, whether other bids were considered and how much plane manufacturer Airbus had quoted.

She was also quizzed why a 300-seater plane was needed for the president.

“There wasn’t a signed contract. Boeing happened to have this plane at the time after a client cancelled their order. This plane was then offered to the South African government.”

Mapisa-Nqakula cancelled the deal, but said the process of acquiring transport for state officials will restart before an investigation by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is finalised.

“Everything should depend on the advice that we are given by the technicians. In this case, it will be the National Defence Force, the Air Force and Chief of the Defence Force.”

South Africa’s fleet of state official planes including the president’s current plane is constantly undergoing maintenance and service because of the many years it is being used.

She said she has not spoken to her predecessor Lindiwe  Sisulu about the matter, but will be meeting with her next week.

South Africa: Procurement of VIP planes canceled


News24.com

July 6th, 2012

Cape Town – Announcing the cancellation of R2bn jet deal for President Jacob Zuma, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said there is a need for VIP planes and a new procurement process can be expected.

The proposed purchase of a new Boeing 777 jet for President Jacob Zuma will not go ahead, Mapisa-Nqakula said on Friday.

She told reporters in Pretoria the procurement process was cancelled after the offer to purchase lapsed on June 15.

A $10m (about R82m) deposit would be returned in full, the minister added.

The ministry confirmed that there was also an offer from Airbus but that this lapsed two weeks later, on June 30.

“I have since met with the companies approached to submit proposals for the procurement of VVIP aircraft, including Boeing, and I have informed them that the current process has been cancelled.”

The minister said a new procurement process could be expected in the future because there was a need for VIP planes.

Mapisa-Nqakula said the process involving Boeing was being probed by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

She declined to say whether the regular procurement requirements had been followed, pending the outcome of that investigation.

– SAPA

South Africa: Zille hails tender finding


IOL News

By SAPA

June 1st, 2012

Western Cape premier Helen Zille on Friday welcomed the Public Protector‘s finding that there was no evidence of unlawfulness in her government awarding a branding contract to agency TBWA.

“The report shows, above all, that the entire exercise was a storm in a teacup stirred up by our political opponents,” she told reporters in Cape Town.

“The entire affair was a waste of the Public Protector’s time and cost the South African taxpayer hundreds of thousands of rand at least, that could have been better spent on service delivery.”

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela announced on Friday that she made four findings of maladministration but none of unlawfulness, which meant she would not recommend that the contract was invalid or should be cancelled.

Zille said the report found no corruption and political involvement, interference or manipulation in the procurement process. She was also not personally involved in the process.

She said it was found that the presence of two special advisers on the tender bid evaluation committee had made no difference to the outcome of the evaluation.

Madonsela found that some administrative processes in managing transversal tenders, those which involved various government departments and strict Treasury regulations, were faulty.

Zille said the provincial treasury had picked up these faults long beforehand and steps were taken to rectify them.

Madonsela was asked by, among others, the ANC in the Western Cape to investigate whether the department of the provincial premier had employed proper demand side management regarding procurement of the contract.

She had to find out whether failure to do so had resulted in fruitless and wasteful expenditure, whether the department had kept proper records of proceedings of the bid evaluation committee, and whether the appointment of two special advisers to the committee which awarded the contract was legal. – Sapa

Why a South African Anti-Corruption Agency Must be Independent of the Police to be Effective


Institute for Security Studies

May 2, 2012

By Gareth Newham,  Head of the Crime and Justice Programme, ISS Pretoria

If it was not already clear why a dedicated anti-corruption agency capable of tackling powerfully connected people had to be independent of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the recent, and indeed ongoing failures of police leadership over the past few years should put this into perspective.

In 2010, ex-SAPS National Commissioner Jackie Selebi was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to 15 years in prison. In 2011, the SAPS National Commissioner, Bheki Cele, was suspended pending the outcome of an inquiry into his fitness for office. This followed a finding by the Public Protector that his actions in relation to a R1.67 billion police lease deal were ‘improper, unlawful and amounted to maladministration.’

In addition, one of the most powerful SAPS Divisional Commissioners, head of Crime Intelligence Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli, is facing an astonishing array of allegations implicating him and his close colleagues in murder, rape and wide-scale corruption.  The National Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa has been accused of halting the Hawks’ investigation into Mdluli so as to protect him from further criminal charges, given Mdluli’s willingness to use his position to support Jacob Zuma’s intention to run for a second term as ANC president. Moreover, there are allegations emerging from investigations by the Hawks that Mthethwa illegally benefitted from the SAPS Secret Service Account to the tune of R195 581 for renovations to his personal residence, which was authorised by Mdluli.

Whether or not these allegations are ultimately proven, they have certainly severely undermined the public image of the police and further demoralised many of the honest hard working police officials expected to place themselves at risk in fighting crime.  Moreover, such allegations point to reasons why the political elite might choose not to strengthen the independence and ability of the Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigations (DPCI), commonly known as the Hawks, to investigate corruption committed by those at the highest levels of government…Read more.

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.

South Africa: ‘No more cash-cow contracts for clueless comrades’


Mail&Guardian Online

September 22, 2011

The days of the department of public works being run like a “cash cow” are over, minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde said in Sandton on Thursday. 

Contracts are given to people who don’t even have a clue what they are supposed to do,” she told delegates at the Engineering Council of South Africa’s summit.

There were roads and bridges falling apart around the country, and of the 41 departmental contracts reviewed by the Special Investigating Unit, all were found to be non-compliant.

It’s a shame. I am paying for buildings that are falling apart. Many are not being used, or maintained. They are just empty.”

Mahlangu-Nkabinde took office on October 31 last year, succeeding Jeff Doidge.

She said: “When I got into public works, I discovered it was just a cash cow.”

In two separate reports this year, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela held her and national police commissioner Bheki Cele responsible for a R500-million and R1.1-billion lease agreement with businessman Roux Shabangu for police office space in Pretoria and Durban.

She found the leases were concluded in an unlawful and improper way. Madonsela criticised the department for going ahead with the deals, in spite of legal opinion to the contrary and an earlier agreement that this would not happen until the public protector had completed her investigation.

Without referring to the lease controversy, Mahlangu-Nkabinde said: “We have created a lot of millionaires who do not care what happens to this country.

“I am interfering in areas where previous people were comfortable, but I am not in it for myself, I am in it for the country and for the years to come.

I want to remain an unpopular minister, because I will not give a ‘comrade’, who has no clue what he is doing, government projects.”

In the past weeks, her department announced it had already found R3-billion worth of tender irregularities in response to recommendations made by the protector…Read more.

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