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Johannesburg - Six months after Durban hosted the Brics summit of developing nations, the eThekwini Municipality has decided to investigate the awarding of a R3.7 million contract for entertainment for the event, to a company headed by Jacob Zuma’s cousin.
Deebo Mzobe’s Solesa Productions was given the contract, along with three other companies that would share the profits with Solesa, to hold a concert. To date, however, the money has not been split, and the legitimacy of Solesa’s selection is now being questioned by opposition parties.
Andrew Loubser, director of Slingshot Productions, one of the three companies involved, said he had not received a cent from Solesa, which had been appointed project manager.
“The city promised us that we would be paid, but they have done nothing in the past six months,” said Loubser.
“We have requested copies of the contracts and invoices but they won’t give them to us. I will have to go to court to have them subpoenaed,” he said.
Loubser said he ticked all the boxes when it came to showing the municipality his company was above board and suitable to host the concert, but the city succumbed to “political pressure” and appointed Solesa to head the project instead.
Since then, city officials had been “avoiding” him when he tried to contact them.
Thabo Mofokeng, spokesman for the eThekwini Municipality, confirmed on Tuesday that the municipality was investigating.
“Should it be found that there was something sinister in the process, the city manager will take appropriate action,” said Mofokeng.
The DA leader in Durban, Zwakele Mncwango, welcomed the decision after his party had raised questions about the tender.
“Why was the money paid directly to Solesa Productions and not split among the other companies, and what is being done to ensure that Solesa Productions honours the memorandum of understanding between the companies and municipality?” said Mncwango.
He had written to city manager S’bu Sithole asking him to “get to the bottom” of the matter. It was “very strange” that Sithole seemed to have no knowledge of the details of the contract with Solesa.
“We are trying to cap corrupt activity in the municipality,” said Mncwango.
Solesa Productions representative Sthembiso Khumalo could not be reached. In the Sunday Tribune in September, Khumalo was quoted as saying that his consortium partners were “greedy” and were “trying to milk the system”, and that they had been paid what they were owed.