DA asks Public Protector to investigate Eastern Cape toilet tender award to ANC-linked company

MARCH 2, 2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it has written to Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, to investigate revelations over the weekend that a company with strong links in the African National Congress (ANC) may have unduly benefited from a R631 million tender in the Amathole District.

“I have this morning asked the Public Protector to investigate the awarding of a R631 million contract for building 66 000 toilets in the Eastern Cape to a company linked to family of President Jacob Zuma, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, and Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu,” DA Parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.

This follows the Amathole District municipality’s awarding of a contract, allegedly without going to tender, to politically-connected Siyenza Group for the building of toilets in several villages in the rural Eastern Cape.

An investigative project by the Saturday Dispatch has found that those linked to Siyenza Group include:

  • President Jacob Zuma’s son-in-law Lonwabo Sambudla
  • ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe’s wife and son, Nolwandle and Buyambo Mantashe, who’s company has allegedly been appointed as a sub-contractor to the toilet project
  • Minister Lindiwe Zulu’s son, Boitumelo Itholeng who heads up the Group’s “Prospectus” division

“When President Zuma personally launched the toilet project in October 2014, he described it as government ‘doing wonderful things’. In reality the real benefits seem to be for the close family connections of top ANC leaders,” Maimane said.

“Siyenza Group’s high-powered connections effectively make it something of an ANC Inc. empowered to do business with government at their will.

“The alleged flouting of due process in awarding this lucrative toilet contract to Siyenza offers every reason to believe that the Group benefitted as a result of its ties to high-ranking ANC officials.

“Given these allegations, I have asked the Public Protector to investigate the following:

  • the justification for appointing Siyenza without going to tender
  • why the toilet contract was given to Siyenza despite 4 existing suppliers having already been appointed
  • the reasons why Siyenza was deemed to be uniquely qualified to build toilets
  • whether forward payments to Siyenza (reportedly totaling R60 million so far) correspond with the verification of completed toilets.”

He said that this toilet contract - totalling more than half a billion rand, is yet another example of how those in the ANC are using their political power to enrich themselves while the basic needs of citizens go unmet.

According to the Dispatch, very little work has been carried out on the project despite a substantial alleged payment of R60-million having been made to Siyenza for “work already done”.

“It is disgraceful that directors of Siyenza have allegedly been seen splurging on Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches and lavish parties while people go without the toilets the group is contracted to build. Workers on the project have also allegedly gone without payment since January.

“In the coming weeks I will be working with the DA Eastern Cape leadership to expose the full extent of this brazen profiteering from government contracts by top-ranking ANC leaders and their family,” Maimane said.

Read more on this story: SACP EASTERN CAPE RAISES CONCERN OVER R631 MIL TENDER TO ANC-LINKED COMPANY