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'It's a web of corruption'

By unknown | Jun 11, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

KwaZulu-Natal opposition leader Lionel Mtshali yesterday expressed outrage at former department of agriculture head Jabulani Mjwara being the preferred bidder for a multi-million rand contract from the Msunduzi municipality.

Mjwara's company, Plant Waves 399, is the frontrunner to win the contract to dredge the Camps Drift canal in the provincial capital - amid allegations that the company had no dredging experience.

The company is bidding R12,8million to land the lucrative project.

But Msunduzi municipal spokesman Francis Grantham said yesterday: "Until such time as the final letter of award is issued the process is not finalised and involvement in the process may be viewed as exerting undue influence on the process and the decision-makers."

He said the South Africans Constitution provided for equal access to economic opportunities of all its citizens - unless they have been convicted in a court of law or they appear on the National Treasury database of persons restricted from doing business with the government.

He confirmed that Mjwara's company was the preferred bidder.

Mjwara resigned from his post in the provincial agricultural department before the completion of a forensic investigation into maladministration to the tune of R125million.

It is also believed that Mjwara was paid a hefty performance bonus when he resigned from his post - just days before he was due to appear before a disciplinary hearing.

Mtshali said that Mjwara, an "ANC nominee", had not only institutionalised corruption in the province through his disastrous tenure at the department of agriculture, but "has now effectively spread the web of corruption to another tier of government".

Mtshali said the IFP had long criticised the general state of lawlessness, maladministration, fraud and corruption in the department, forcing the departure of Mjwara last year.

"Mjwara had been sheltered for three years by the provincial government and it had taken the IFP the equal number of years of concentrated effort in parliament to trigger an investigation into his misconduct." Mtshali said.

"The IFP is alarmed at the expanding network of corrupt relationships across the various tiers of government in the province, in this case provincial and local.

"The award of this particular contract to Mjwara sums up all that is wrong with the tendering processes in general: the beneficiary is a close political ally, under a cloud, and hardly competent for the task in question."

Mtshali said the IFP would pursue the issue of "the infamous Mjwara" in both the provincial parliament and in Msunduzi council.

DA KwaZulu-Natal caucus leader Roger Burrows said that allowing Mjwara to continue to benefit from government business in the form of a "potentially lucrative contract with the Msunduzi municipality is "unacceptable".


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