THE awarding of a catering tender to President Jacob Zuma's Pietermaritzburg-based girlfriend was irregular, the Inkatha Freedom Party said yesterday.
IFP provincial leader Dr Lionel Mtshali said the KwaZulu-Natal legislature had broken the law by awarding a tender to Nonkululeko Mhlongo, who is reported to have two children with Zuma.
In the 2008-2009 financial year, Mhlongo's Bucebo General Trading was awarded the tender to cater for snacks and lunches at the provincial legislature.
"The legislature broke the law by awarding the catering tender to Mhlongo and another bidder before the expiry of the 21-day period for review of all bidding proposals," Mtshali said.
He said the awarding of the R1303671 tender had not been advertised in the Government Gazette, as was required by the treasury regulations.
"The R1,3million in question is part of the legislature's irregular expenditure of R19017025 for catering during that financial year," he said, adding that the IFP believed Mhlongo's company received preferential treatment.
Though Zuma has not commented on his relationship with Mhlongo, Mike Zuma, a relative of the president, said that the family knew Mhlongo and respected her.
"She is our mother. She visits the home of Msholozi (Zuma's clan name) during functions," he said.
The Mercury yesterday reported that the legislature's chief operations officer Bongani Sibisi had said the awarding of the tender to Mhlongo was above board.
Sibisi told the paper that the contract was put on public tender and that 53 bidders submitted proposals.
Mhlongo was not available to comment. - Sapa