Johannesburg - Members of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), especially those in the North West, are outraged at the report in the Mail & Guardian that a multi-million rand tender was awarded to a businessman - Mcebisi Mlonzi - on the same date as he registered on the municipal supplier database.
"Mlonzi, director of Kwane Capital, is already facing a probe by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) over a R92 million tender in the Eastern Cape. He now faces a Hawks probe over this R165 million leasing contract," Saftu said in a statement on Sunday.
Without the R165 million contract being put out to tender, Kwane Capital went from applying for registration on the database on December 15, 2015 to receiving the first upfront payment of R10 million just eight days later, on December 23, for a contract that had not been advertised. This was also just a day after Kwane Capital’s tax clearance certificate from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) was approved, the union said.
Mahikeng municipal manager Thabo Mokwena, who had apparently been “seconded” by African National Congress Youth League leader Collen Maine, who was then North West local government and human settlements MEC, allegedly wrote on December 18, 2015 “Please pay R10 million” next to a stamp on an invoice by Kwane Capital for an upfront payment. Five days later a municipal receipt showed a payment of R10 million to the company.
Saftu agreed with Wits University professor William Gumede that “how this tender was awarded is highly suspicious and irregular in all forms, to put it politely. These dates are world record-breaking, considering the process that normally goes into the government awarding a tender, especially if the bidding process is competitive”.
This example revealed just how blatant and shameless corruption had become, and Saftu’s North West provincial convenor Puseletso Molise said the federation "over the coming weeks, will be taking drastic measures to take our fight against graft and corruption to the next level. We have launched a war against corruption in the province, no matter how dangerous this may be. We are prepared for the worst”.
"Saftu nationally is equally determined to fight to end the plundering and wrecking of the economy through the relentless corruption, tender manipulation, money-laundering, and outright theft by a faction of the ruling class led by President [Jacob] Zuma and the Gupta family, but involving a far wider network within the mainstream business community and, as this story shows, provincial structures.
"This mafia has bankrupted state-owned enterprises, appointed and bribed ministers and public officials, and undermined constitutional structures, including the Hawks and NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] whose constitutional duty requires them to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice, but who have become their accomplices.
"This corruption must be rooted out through the prosecution and punishment of all those implicated, from the president down, with no exceptions or amnesties and must link this to the struggle against a structurally corrupt and exploitative monopoly capitalist system," Saftu said.