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Why was Zuma benefactor paid R81m advance? asks DA

Politics
Cape Town – Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane needs to explain why President Jacob Zuma’s close friend Philani Mavundla was allegedly irregularly paid an advance of tens of millions of rand, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

The DA would ask Auditor General Kimi Makwetu to investigate why “wealthy Zuma crony Philani Mavundla was given a R81 million advance payment on a tender to address acid mine drainage”, DA spokesman Leon Basson said.

“While empowerment deals do include advance payment, as many companies who win bids do not always have the capital, in this case the beneficiary is a wildly wealthy crony of Zuma who doesn’t need or deserve upfront payment,” he said.

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Philani Mavundla, a construction magnate who once offered to pay Zuma’s portion of the upgrades to his home in Nkandla, was involved in a joint venture which was awarded the R1 billion contract to build an acid mine drainage plant in Springs. File picture: Gcina Ndwalani

City Press reported on Sunday that Mavundla, 49, a construction magnate who once offered to pay Zuma’s portion of the upgrades to his home in Nkandla, was involved in a joint venture which was awarded the R1 billion contract to build an acid mine drainage plant in Springs, east of Johannesburg.

“However, documents City Press has obtained show his joint venture company [CMC-PG Mavundla EB JV] was paid the R81m advance before he even broke ground on the plant – which is expressly forbidden by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA),” the newspaper reported.

Mavundla, the former mayor of Greytown in KwaZulu-Natal, was awarded the contract by the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), which falls under the department of water and sanitation. It is tasked with managing and delivering bulk water-supply projects around the country, City Press reported.

Basson said Mavundla’s reported links to Zuma and his much publicised offer to pay his Nkandla debt brought into sharp focus “the extent of state capture on state enterprises by Zuma’s cronies to benefit number one”.

“As the political head of the department of water and sanitation, minister Nomvula Mokonyane needs to explain her knowledge of and the authorisation given to facilitate the advance payment to Mavundla’s company.

“The DA looks forward to a timely conclusion of the AG investigation and the possible prosecution of all those responsible for violation of state procurement regulations. Its findings and recommendations will help to insulate future tender processes from possible corrupt tendencies from those who enjoy the political cover provided by number one,” Basson said

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