Cape Town - Beaufort West mayor Truman Prince has come under fire for seeking to win control of a nationally managed tender process in order to allegedly siphon funds into ANC coffers for its local government election campaign.
Writing under an official Beaufort West municipality letterhead, Prince allegedly told the chairman of a national training authority that he wanted “sympathetic” construction companies to be given the tenders to build a skills development and trade test centre.
He also allegedly indicated that handing management of the project to the local ANC-led council would boost the party’s popularity with voters ahead of elections.
The letter has been criticised by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, who passed a copy to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. She said she would now “watch with interest” to see if he was re-appointed as mayoral candidate for the town.
Read the letter signed by Truman Prince here
The letter to Raymond Cele, of the Construction Sector Education and Training Authority, allegedly requested a meeting to discuss its tender process for building the centre.
Prince appears to criticise Cele for questioning the municipality’s ability to manage the project.
In the letter dated December 13, Prince states that the ANC was in need of a “financial injection” ahead of the upcoming elections.
“We (will) want to see construction companies sympathetic and having a relationship with the ANC to benefit, in order for these companies to inject funds into our election campaign process,” Prince wrote.
The letter requested a meeting between Cele, the Services Seta and ANC councillor in the Central Karoo, Mawonga Furmen.
Prince ended his letter: “We wish to request that you grant us the opportunity to also use this project as a campaign tool, as it is important to us. The project is important to us both in terms of having to revolutionise the skills development and empowerment of our people and as an entity that will secure us another resounding (electoral) victory.”
Zille expressed outrage at the letter in her weekly newsletter: “Mayor Prince is saying: the ANC needs money for its 2016 election campaign to prevent the DA taking over Beaufort West. They therefore need to control municipal procurement to ensure that companies that get the contracts are ANC-aligned and willing to give a significant cash injection for the ANC election campaign.”
Read Helen Zille's newsletter here
The ANC in the Western Cape said it had taken note of the issue and would ask Prince for further details.
Zille wrote that the implication was clear: that if the municipality ran the tender process, “they can overlook inflated prices on the understanding that the additional amount will be filtered back to the ANC”.
She added: “If (Prince) is not held to account, it will be a clear indication that the ANC is not serious about corruption.”
Prince said he was unaware of Zille’s newsletter but said his letter had been taken out of context: “The municipality was trying to ensure that BEE and local black entrepreneurs within the community can be able to access and apply for tenders, which would otherwise be difficult… if the process is run from Gauteng.”