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DA wants probe into R171-million Eastern Cape broadband deal with Liquid Telecom

Dec 11, 2017
DA wants probe into R171-million Eastern Cape broadband deal with Liquid Telecom

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday called on the Eastern Cape Provincial Treasury to conduct a forensic investigation into the Office of the Premier with regard to the circumstances relating to a payment of R171-million  to Liquid Telecom for the provision of broadband services to the Eastern Cape.

"I call on the MEC for Finance and Provincial Expenditure, Sakhumzi Somyo, to publically state whether or not the payment of R171-million to Liquid Telecom was made or not," said Bobby Stevenson, the DA's Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Finance. 

"The contract for broadband rollout could potentially run into over R1-billion.

"The portfolio committee on the Office of the Premier noted, when examining the 2016/2017 annual report, that government had allocated R740 million to fast-track the implementation of the first phase of broadband rollout to connect more than 5 000 government facilities in eight district municipalities over a three year period."

Stevenson said that if the money was not paid, the MEC must explain on what basis the documentation was prepared, bearing in mind that National Treasury had not approved the contract with Liquid Telecom. 

"The Premier, Phumulo Masualle, must also tell us whether his office approved this payment and if so, on what basis.  The Premier must publically state why the rollout of broadband was not put out to tender, which was the recommendation of National Treasury.  I have today submitted a series of questions in the Provincial Legislature relating to this matter," he added. 

For my questions, click here 

"Premier Masualle must also tell the public whether or not a contract with Liquid Telecom exists and whether or not the Director-General, Marion Mbine-Mthembu’s signature is on that contract.  And if so, on what basis. 

"The rollout of broadband in the province needs to take place as a matter of urgency so communication can be improved and costs saved in relation to telephones, travelling and conferences. Maladministration cannot be allowed to become a ball and chain which deters this province from making progress," Stevenson added. 

He said that the Eastern Cape provincial government is increasingly sinking in murky waters and has a cloud of allegations of maladministration hanging over it. 

"In the November sitting of the legislature, theDA exposed the fact that there was a report drawn up by Provincial Treasury into allegations of maladministration with regard to the provincial Department of Health’s utilisation of the services of the Coega Development Agency. 

"The health department has been sitting on this report for some time, without action being taken. The province also still has to deal with the full consequences of the Public Protector’s report on the Mandela funeral scandal," Stevenson described. 

"The Eastern Cape is suffering under the yoke of the new oppression of corruption and unemployment. The DA is committed to ridding the Eastern Cape of corruption and maladministration. This province faces a choice between ongoing corruption and maladministration or a new DA-government that will deliver meaningful change."