Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha rejects allegations of corruption
Pretoria - The Limpopo government has rejected an allegation of corruption levelled against Premier Stan Mathabatha and director-general Nape Nchabeleng, calling it a “deliberate effort to tarnish the good name of the office”.
This was in reaction to a case opened by a senior government official allegedly against Mathabatha and Nchabeleng regarding a R500 million broadband scandal dating back to 2018.
The free wi-fi connection project was to be rolled out in several areas in the province through Limpopo Connexion, which is a subsidiary company of the Limpopo Economic Development Agency.
The project stalled after some money disappeared from public coffers.
The premier’s office spokesperson, Willy Mosoma, yesterday said in an urgent media statement that ongoing investigations into the multimillion-rand broadband roll-out by the Hawks were as a result of a case opened by a senior government official.
Mosoma said: “The allegations related to broadband are not coming to the public domain for the first time. Among others, they were raised by the unions last year, claiming that they (had) opened a case against both the premier and the director-general.
“Subsequent to that, the provincial government interacted with the Hawks and they confirmed that they were investigating the matter.”
To date, the premier’s office had not received any formal notification from the Hawks regarding the matter, he said.
In the statement, Mosoma said the Hawks had confirmed the investigation, but the crime-busting unit spokesperson, Matimba Maluleke, denied this in a text, saying: “It’s not true.”
In 2019 it was reported that the chief director for provincial information and technology, Lesetja Mathiba, was placed on suspension in October after blowing the whistle on the multimillion-rand project.
He had also lodged a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission, claiming that Nchabeleng had attacked him during meetings when he had raised concerns about the project.
Four days after lodging the complaint he was suspended.
Mathiba protested that the awarding of the tender to Alcom Matomo in 2017 for the distribution of the broadband project was in contravention of the State Information Technology Agency Act.
This meant that the expenditure on the project was irregular.
Mosoma said the government would give the Hawks its full attention in the ongoing investigation but accused the senior government official who had again laid a charge of being a disgruntled ex-employee.
Mosoma added: “It should be noted that other statutory institutions, including the auditor-general, have also investigated the same matter before and their investigations concluded that there were no irregularities.
“The people of Limpopo are informed that these kinds of actions are deliberate efforts by detractors who seek to tarnish the good image of the premier.”
Efforts by the Pretoria News to get comment from the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union were fruitless.