Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Screengrab: SABC/YouTube
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Screengrab: SABC/YouTube

LIVE FEED: State Capture Inquiry - August 6, 2020

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Aug 6, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Zondo commission will continue its probe into the Free State provincial government's handling of an asbestos tender which was irregularly approved.

The following individuals are expected to take the stand; Abel Kgotso Manyike, a director at ORI Group, Shaub Duminy, the owner of SMD Trading and Thabane Wiseman Zulu, a former director-general at the Free State department of human settlements.

This week the inquiry is probing evidence related to an asbestos tender which was irregularly issued by the Free State provincial government. Ace Magashule, the current secretary-general of the ANC, was accused of receiving kickbacks related to the tender while he served as premier in the province.

The contract, which was worth R255 million, has been marred by allegations of corruption and grand-scale looting.

WATCH FEED HERE

Explaining the genesis of the tender, which will be the focus of the commission this week, evidence leader and the commission’s head of the legal team advocate Paul Pretorius said procurement processes which allowed Blackhead Consulting and the Free State human settlements to participate in an already existing asbestos contract in Gauteng had been “entirely flawed”.

He further told the Commission that in Gauteng, two panels of service providers were irregularly appointed, with the first panel tasked with general work relating to housing while a smaller panel of eight contractors was tasked with the eradication of asbestos.

“There is no evidence of any competitive bidding that occurred in relation to the appointment of either panel. That is important because of the procurement processes which followed,” Pretorius said.

Blackhead Consulting, which was among the eight companies, had charged R650 per unit, just for the assessment of the existence of asbestos, which Pretorius said had been declared irregular by the Auditor General.

“Importantly, there was no individual contract in existence between Blackhead Consulting and the Gauteng department relevant to this evidence at the time that the ’contract’ was transferred to the Free State, nor is there any evidence that a fair tender process preceded the conclusion of any contractual arrangement between Blackhead and the department of human settlements in Gauteng,” he said.

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