Limpopo - The Limpopo Human Settlements Department has awarded multi-million-rand housing contracts to a string of companies owned by Julius Malema’s allies or benefactors even though some did not meet the requirements or had a history of poor performance.
The Star can reveal that the provincial Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) ignored recommendations of its own bid adjudication committee (BAC), which disqualified 18 of 55 companies when it awarded contracts worth about R900 million.
Documents seen by The Star show that the firms had been ruled out for reasons ranging from poor performance and lack of proven track record to failure to submit audited financial statements.
The beneficiaries included known Malema associates such as businessman Selby Manthata and his wife Helen Moreroa, Ali Boshielo, Matome Hlabioa, Collins Foromo and Mohammed Dada.
Hlabioa has admitted sponsoring Malema with a R1.2 million Range Rover. Dada helped build a Seshego church at his request. Boshielo built a house for athlete Caster Semenya’s parents on Malema’s behalf in 2009, while Foromo is the firebrand’s former driver.
Although Dada, Boshielo and Foromo are close to Malema, nothing irregular was found with their bid documents.
The contracts were awarded on December 19, 24 hours after President Jacob Zuma secured a second term in Mangaung – a victory that sparked widespread speculation he would clear the administration of Malema’s and Premier Cassel Mathale’s supporters. The CoGTA is run by MEC Clifford Motsepe, who is close to Malema and Mathale.
Dated December 21, the adjudication committee’s report showed Hlaboia’s company, MPPJ Property Development cc, did not qualify for the contracts because it failed to submit CVs of key personnel.
However, the department’s list of companies awarded contracts for the 2013/2014 financial year showed MPPJ had been allocated 500 units in Aganang and Molemole in the province’s Capricorn district.
CoGTA spokeswoman Dieketseng Diale on Thursday defended the department’s awarding of the contracts to ineligible firms linked to Malema.
“The department implemented what the bid adjudication committee recommended. The other interaction was between the BEC and BAC for clarity-seeking. It was not a recommendation to the department. CVs of key personnel is one of the evaluation criteria which does not disqualify a bidder.”
She said the department did not close during the festive season and concluded contracts in December as part of “forward planning”.
She would not comment on allegations that the contracts were awarded during the festive season to secure the futures of Malema’s allies in case Zuma fired Mathale.
Documents showed the department allocated Manthata’s Selby Construction 500 units even though the adjudication committee had recommended no more than 300.
Manthata and Moreroa did not respond to repeated calls and questions sent through Manthata’s personal assistant, Yolanda Breedt.
“On Monday they went out of town and I do not know when they will return. They are in a congress and he does not even answer my calls,” Breedt said.
Manthata and Moreroa, who are the business partners of Mathale and his wife Mokgadi Dolly Kgohloane, are Malema’s co-accused in the criminal case stemming from the R52m project management unit contract.
The contract was fraudulently awarded to On-Point Engineering, a firm linked to Malema.
The couple have been charged with fraud and corruption for allegedly contributing R1m to Malema’s Schuilkraal farm in exchange for road contracts.
Foromo maintained his innocence, saying Malema had nothing to do with the contracts awarded to TC Foromo Trading Enterprises.
“Some of us will always remain the targets. I did not get that tender through Julius. My company has got capacity to do the work,” he said.
Dada, who also reportedly flew Malema across the country in his R18m jet, said he received the contracts fairly because of his impressive track record and experience.
Hlabioa’s phone rang unanswered on Thursday. Boshielo failed to respond to calls and voicemails.
Limpopo’s housing scandal by numbers
*13 000 – number of RDP units allocated
*500 – maximum number of units allocated to a single company
*222 – number of bidders who tendered
*100 – minimum number of units allocated to a single bidder
*55 – number of companies that benefited
*118 – number of ineligible companies
*4 – number of adjudication committee members who awarded the contracts
*3 – number of days it took the committee to award contracts