“We reject tender allegations” - Masualle


Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle, has rubbished a weekend newspaper article that two senior officials were in talks to hand over a tender to an unnamed organisation with links to provincial African National Congress (ANC) Secretary, Oscar Mabuyane.

On Saturday, the Dispatch revealed that it had obtained a cellphone recording, made in April by a local businessman, in which former provincial Head of Treasury, Marion Mbina-Mthembu, and Acting Education Superintendent-General, Raymond Tywakadi, were openly discussing the handing over of a tender to an unmanned Ngcobo based group, after allegedly being instructed by Mabuyane.

According to the paper, one of the two tenders, neither of which had been officially confirmed, was for a catering service to a hostel worth a R20-million, and the second for a school nutrition programme totalling over R1-billion.

Both Tywakadi and Mbina-Mthembu have confirmed that the voice on the recordings were theirs, but stopped short of admitting that the tender had gone thorough, while Mabuyane has denied issuing the order.

Addressing the allegations at a media briefing in Bisho yesterday, Masualle stated that government’s procurement environment was “free from outside public sector influences” and that only those specifically identified, are allowed to compete for procurement.

“Upon further investigation, I have reliably been informed that the respective tender had been cancelled and that the various defective factors had been withdrawn and re-written,” Masualle said, adding that the latter tender never existed.

“I would also like to make it official that any sense of local personalities having the ability to dictate to the public service about the awarding of contracts is something we totally reject”.

Speaking in a statement yesterday, Democratic Alliance (DA) Eastern Cape Leader Athol Trollip said the allegations showcase a “disturbing illustration of cadre deployment” and that action needs to be taken.

“Education is the foundation of opportunity and corruption cannot be allowed to directory compromise our youth’s future. MEC [Mandla] Makupula [must therefore] act swiftly and decisively if he is serious about his department’s reputation and responsibility to educate the future generations,” he said.