IT WAS time for the African National Congress (ANC) to draw a line in the sand and bring an end to the involvement of office bearers in state tender processes once and for all, said Judith February, head of the parliamentary information and monitoring service of the Institute for Democracy in SA (Idasa).
February was responding to allegations in the media at the weekend that Julius Malema made more than R130m in two years after companies in which he has a stake were awarded state contracts.
Questions were raised in the Limpopo legislature by the Congress of the People about the recipients of 21 multi million-rand tenders.
It emerged that a company, of which Malema is allegedly the co-owner, received work in eight of the 31 municipalities in Limpopo.
Malema had told a weekend newspaper that his job as head of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) was his only source of income, something he also said in an earlier television interview.
Malema reportedly has a stake in SGL Engineering Projects, which has been “awarded dozens of contracts” since 2003, many of them from municipalities in Limpopo — Malema’s home province.
The company allegedly received more than R130m in the past two years.
The money has allegedly been used to fund a lavish lifestyle for Malema, including two luxury homes.
Malema has refused to comment in the media on the allegations, saying it was no one’s business.
February pointed out that there had yet to be an investigation, but said: “The ANC should use the debate around Malema to stop the stream of rewarding patronage.”
The ANC needed to pronounce on the issue once and for all and establish a centralised tendering process that would be transparent, she said.
Since the Malema matter had been raised in the legislature it should be examined by bodies such as the public accounts committee and the contracts set aside if there had been irregularities.
February said despite ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa and secretary-general Gwede Mantashe highlighting the ANC’s concerns about conflicts of interest between office bearers and the awarding of state contracts, and the involvement of spouses in state tenders, “there appears to be very little appetite within the ANC to take the issues on because there are so many conflicting interests”.
Yesterday ANCYL spokesman Floyd Shivambu announced that a press conference would be held today in Johannesburg to address the allegations made in the media.
Source: www.businessday.co.za, 20100222
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