ANC’s Gauteng provincial secretary Jacob Khawe accused of ‘contract meddling’
Johannesburg - The ANC’s Gauteng provincial secretary Jacob Khawe is accused of using his position to influence the awarding of insurance contracts in the province’s municipalities.
At the centre of the accusation is his alleged personal relationship with Nthabeleng Khabutlane of Opulentia and Fezi Auditors and Consultants. Sources said other insurance companies were being frustrated and their appointments allegedly being blocked to force the appoint of Khawe’s preferred company.
“The SG is frustrating processes and meddling in the affairs of many municipalities in the province. He is pushing for the appointment of Fezi and Opulentia to provide insurance services in the municipalities,” said the source.
According to at least three sources, the reason behind that is an alleged romantic relationship between Khawe and Khabutlane. The sources further claimed that the two are set to get married in December.
Khawe this week refuted the allegations, maintaining that he has never used his position to benefit anyone.
“I don’t do that with any municipalities,” he said.
Khabutlane’s company was appointed in Emfuleni Local Municipality to provide Short Term Insurance in February of this year. This is the same municipality where Khawe was mayor before resigning to take up the position of provincial secretary.
The appointment was questioned a few months after, and the municipality’s legal services handed a report to the Municipal Manager Lucky Leseane advising him to cancel the contract as it does not serve the municipality.
The appointment was also found not to have followed procedures. According to the sources and backed by the legal services report, Opulentia was appointed on a Regulation 32 which was done parallel to a tender process which the company had been disqualified on based on its pricing.
The legal report compiled by Tando Mbono stated that in May 2019, the municipality advertised a tender for the provision of brokerage services for short-term insurance with a closing date of June 19, 2019.
The evaluation of the tender was only completed towards the end of 2019, beyond the scheduled time with two validity period extensions having been requested from the bidders.
According to the report, Lateral Unison was “by all accounts set to become the recommended bidder having prevailed over Kunene Makopo Risk Solutions on price.”
Mbono added that after the committee meeting, an undertaking was that the chairperson was to ensure that a report is finalised between the Supply Chain Manager official in the committee and the representative of the user-department after which the said report would be submitted to the Bid Adjudication Committee. That, however, never happened.
It was discovered that the municipality was trying to secure a Regulation 32 deviation while the committee was busy with the bid.
“It would turn out that parallel to the competitive bidding, ELM was also in process of procuring the same services in terms of Regulation 32 of SCM Regulations, 2005 from Matjabeng Municipality.
That municipality has a three-year contract with the same Opulentia which had submitted an unsuccessful bid to ELM. According to the user-department (insurance), SCM considered the finalisation BEC report an exercise in futility considering the Regulation 32 process which was apparently at an advanced stage,” Mbono wrote in the report.
Khawe added that he had nothing to do with the appointment of Opulentia.
“Specifically, I have nothing to do with the appointment of this company in Emfuleni,” he said.
He failed to answer other questions posed to him. They included what the nature of his relationship with Khabutlane was and if they were indeed getting married in December.
He also did not respond to the allegations that he was blocking other companies to ensure Opulentia would be favoured.
Sunday Independent has seen pictures of the two looking affectionate with one another and has also seen what appears to be the digital invite to the traditional wedding.
The Sunday Independent