President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the Special Investigating Unit to investigate procurement issues with respect to the uMgungundlovu District Municipality’s hosting of the 2017 Mandela Day festivities. Picture: Hannah McKay/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - A Mandela Day event hosted by the uMgungundlovu District Municipality has come back to haunt the local council.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe procurement-related matters in the KwaZulu-Natal district municipality, which is known to host its annual Mandela Day marathon.

In a proclamation published recently, Ramaphosa said: “The municipality or the State suffered losses that may be recovered. “I deem it necessary that the allegations be investigated and civil proceedings emanating from such investigation should be adjudicated upon.” The SIU-authorised investigation will deal with the procurement of an events management company hired to organise the event. The event took place in December 2017.

The terms of reference for the probe cover allegations of serious maladministration, unlawful conduct by employees of uMgungundlovu District Municipality, and unlawful expenditure of public money. The terms of reference also extend to negligent loss of public funds, an offence as defined in the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

The SIU probe will cover the period between January 2017 and the date of the publication of the proclamation.

Meanwhile, the SIU has also been mandated to look into the affairs of arms manufacturer Denel.

Ramaphosa said the SIU had to also probe irregular measures concerning the misappropriation of proprietary and intellectual property rights in Denel’s air-to-air missiles, stand-off weapons and surface target missiles.

This comes four months after the president authorised the SIU to investigate the awarding of bursaries by Denel, along with the procurement of steel fabrication services and steel fabricated goods, as well as legal services.

Also to be probed is the procurement of services to develop a white paper relating to the validity of advance payments of bank guarantees on all contracts entered into by Denel and the Armaments Corporation of South Africa. The initial proclamation came nearly a year after Denel made headlines when it was reported that it improperly awarded a R1.1million bursary to former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo’s son, Oarabile.

The state-owned entity initially denied the bursary was awarded improperly, saying “these allegations are false”, and “the bursary awarded was made to three students based on the same criteria and/or considerations”.

Last December, Denel’s chairperson of the audit committee Talib Sadik said Denel had terminated Mahumapelo’s bursary agreement after an investigation made several findings.

The probe had found that the school where Mahumapelo was studying to be a pilot was not an institution approved by Denel, and that the pilot bursaries were not advertised in terms of Denel’s bursary policy.

It was also found that the bursary was granted without following the proper selection process.

Political Bureau