Durban- An ANC pre-election youth beach party, sponsored by wealthy Durban housing contractor Shauwn Mpisane, has irked the DA which wants the public protector to investigate.
The DA claimed this was proof that the ruling party was using government tender beneficiaries to fund their election campaign.
But ANC KZN spokesman, Senzo Mkhize, on Monday accused the DA of intentionally misleading the public, saying no beneficiary was compelled by the party to support it. “It is not true that money is being channelled into the ANC. All parties have their events with business… there is nothing wrong with working with them (the Mpisanes),” he said.
“They have been to court and they have been cleared.”
He said Mpisane was not the only one funding the event, but that other funders had asked to remain anonymous.
Mpisane, who has amassed a fortune through the low-cost housing contracts her company, Zikhulise Cleaning & Transport, has won, on Monday night denied there was anything untoward.
She lashed out at the DA amid accusations by the party that she was sponsoring this weekend’s event in Durban in return for securing housing contracts in the city.
“The DA’s criticism is without an ounce of truth. If they bothered to examine the facts and follow my (fraud and corruption) trial over three years they would have known that my business was not built on so-called political connections but on solid experience and my company’s expertise in the housing sector,” Mpisane said.
In January all the charges against her were dropped.
Mpisane said she welcomed an intervention by the public protector and challenged the DA to go to court to prove that she secured contracts through corrupt means or that her company was being favoured in city housing contracts.
“The DA’s statement implies that I win contracts through bribery. I would like to challenge them to go to court to prove this and welcome any investigation by the public protector on the matter.”
Said Mpisane: “The DA found nothing wrong when it was discovered that they had received funding from a member of the Gupta family.
“Does this imply that the Guptas receive preferential treatment because they fund the DA? I doubt it.”
The DA’s eThekwini caucus leader, Zwakele Mncwango, said it was “clear that the Mpisanes are being favoured as they are politically connected and channel money towards the ANC. I am therefore going to write to the office of the Public Protector, calling on her to investigate all contracts given to the Mpisanes and the processes under which they were awarded”.
Mncwango said Mpisane’s company was the city’s top-earning contractor in the past financial year with R445 million paid out, in terms of its section 36 supply chain management policy, by April last year within a nine-month period.
The company did not go through normal tender processes in securing the contracts, as the policy states that funds can be made available for urgent work in exceptional cases.
“If you look at the awarding of tenders in eThekwini, there are a few select individuals who are getting tenders… They get tenders and plough the money back into the ANC,” Mncwango said.
He said Mpisane should rather be investing her money in university students who were being snubbed by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
Mpisane said the accusations must be seen for what they were – “misinformed, inaccurate and cheap political electioneering”.
Asked about her reasons for sponsoring the ANC event, Mpisane said it was to remind the youth about how freedom was won. “It saddens me to hear many young people today saying they are disillusioned and that their vote would be wasted,” she said.
“I want them to know that our freedom was not free. I want young people to be able to listen to what we went through to win these freedoms for them – the right to vote, the right to be educated and have equal opportunities.”
The free beach party is themed, “I’m young, smart and I vote ANC” and features some big names in the entertainment industry, including celebrity Minnie Dlamini, actress Nomzamo Mbatha, presenter Bonang Matheba, DJ Black Coffee, hip-hop group Dream Team and kwaito sensation Big NUZ.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairman, Senzo Mchunu, and Bheki Cele, a national executive committee member of the ANC, are billed to address the thousands of youth expected to attend the event.
The MF’s Patrick Pillay said the close association between the ANC and Mpisane could not be disputed.
“It is important that political parties disclose the funding they get from private business. It is clear that both the ANC and the DA receive millions from people,” he said. He said the MF received no private funding.