Johannesburg - The Mpumalanga government declined to confirm on Wednesday that it had cancelled the tender processes for rental agreements in the tourist town of Pilgrims Rest.

“It would... not be advisable to make further comments as some parties are affected directly or indirectly,” public works department spokesman Dumisani Malamule said.

Last month, his department said it had accepted the recommendations by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela after she conducted a probe into alleged maladministration in the awarding of tenders for shop leases.

One of the recommendations was to cancel earlier awarded contracts and embark on a new procurement process.

On Wednesday, Malamule said the department had started putting into effect the plans but would not say what progress had been made.

He said it would be inappropriate for affected parties to learn of the developments through the media.

Afrikaans business rights watchdog AfriSake earlier in the day praised the department for the cancellation of the tender processes.

The organisation had been intending to help affected Pilgrim's Rest residents in their legal fight against the department.

“The legal action can now be put on hold, with the expectation that a new tender process will be introduced,” said Afrisake CEO Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg.

Sapa