Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has rejected out of hand allegations of an improper provincial government communications tender, but has vowed to resign if any corruption is found. Photo: Brenton Geach

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has rejected out of hand allegations of an “improper” provincial government communications tender, but has vowed to resign if any “corruption” is found.

The allegations were made in the Sunday Times yesterday, but Zille has accused the paper of deliberately ignoring information sent to it and has announced she plans to take the paper to the Press Ombudsman.

However, Zille said the province would invite the national Auditor-General to conduct a tender process audit, and wouldl open its books for a full independent investigation.

Zille also described the amount allegedly involved, reportedly R1 billion, as “an absolute fabrication”. The contract amount was between R50m and R70m, she said.

She said last night: “There is absolutely no truth in the suggestion that there was anything improper or unprocedural in awarding this tender.

“I am confident that the bidding process was transparent, fair, equitable, competitive and cost-effective.”

Zille said the “tender” had beenadvertised by the Department of the Premier on behalf of the provincial government.

The Sunday Times reported that the alleged irregularity hinged upon an extension of mandate, meaning that the provincial government had allegedly expanded upon an existing tender, instead of re-tendering for additional work, to which Zille replied: “(T)he scope of the bid specifically included a one-off fee for the development of a brand strategy, corporate identity manual and the communications strategy for the provincial government as well as for the ongoing communications services for every department.

“Treasury regulations permit departments to participate in a contract arranged by another department. Accordingly, and on the advice of provincial treasury, this was the process followed by all departments.”

The Sunday Times could not be reached for comment. - Cape Argus