Human Settlements MEC and DA Western Cape acting leader Bonginkosi Madikizela has admitted a friend of his, who is a “building contractor” doing business with his department, partly funded his birthday bash.
Opposition parties in the provincial legislature allege this was tantamount to corruption, and now want Madikizela’s conduct to be probed.
Opposition parties charged that Madikizela awarded contracts to a construction company linked to his brother, an allegation Madikizela denied, saying he and the person shared a surname.
The ANC in the Western Cape said it wanted Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to investigate Madikizela’s “impropriety”.
But Madikizela said Phumla Zantsi, a partner at Lawula Trading and Construction, who contributed about R3000 for the cake, according to a weekend publication, was a friend from the 1990s.
He said he had attended the event under the impression that he was going out with friends but later discovered it was a surprise birthday party.
EFF leader in the Western Cape Bernard Joseph said Madikizela’s relationship with a contractor was a cause for concern and something to be referred to the public protector for investigation. He wants the matter to be tabled before the provincial legislature for debate.
Madikizela said he never approached anyone to sponsor his birthday, adding that he earned almost R2million a year and did not need sponsors to throw him a party.
Zantsi was quoted at the weekend as saying it was their culture as friends to throw surprise parties for each other.
When asked yesterday whether he was aware that a contractor had contributed to his birthday party, Madikizela said: “Who are those contractors? That information has not been brought to my attention. One person is mentioned there, Phumla Zantsi.
Phumla has been a friend since 1998. Phumla has been working with the department way before I joined it.”
He said the only thing that must be investigated was whether Zantsi being a friend got special favours.
“I can assure you that is not the case. How can a person contribute R3000 as a friend and you link that to a construction company who sponsored the whole birthday,” he said.
The fact that the bash happened in March and was only now being talked about was a clear indication that it was people with an agenda, he said.
“Those people must not be faceless. They must just come forward to say this is what we heard, so that we can sort this thing out. It’s my opponents within the party.
“It’s people who stand to lose as we are approaching our congress.
“Now these are losers who cannot convince delegates to vote for them and the only thing that they believe will work in their favour is character assassination.
“They will remain losers. I might have an idea of who they are. All these things will be revealed in good time,” he said.
ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs said: “If there is conflict of interest, if some company received contracts from a government department for returning of the favour, this does amount to corruption.
“We are calling for the minister to investigate this impropriety.
“We will also be seeking legal advice so that we can lay a case of corruption and fraud.”