COMMUNICATIONS Minister Siphiwe Nyanda's private company received a R67,8million contract from the Gauteng government - without a tender.
The contract was for the company to provide security at buildings belonging to the Gauteng department of transport.
Gauteng MEC for roads and transport Bheki Nkosi has admitted that the contract was awarded in 2007 - without a tender - to General Nyanda Security Risk Advisory Services (Pty) Ltd (GNS), which is 50percent owned by Nyanda.
He made the revelation yesterday in response to a question from the DA's Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom.
"No, a tender process was not followed in awarding the contract.
"The accounting officer appointed GNS through a deviation - as provided for in terms of Treasury regulations," Nkosi said.
"As there was no tender process followed, no other companies were short-listed."
Bloom said it seemed "highly irregular that Nyanda continues to benefit handsomely from GNS's contract with a Gauteng government department".
The service provided by GNS could probably have been provided by many other companies at less cost, Bloom added.
Nyanda's company has benefitted from other multimillion- rand contracts.
Last December, Sowetan broke the story that GNS had been paid R55million by Transnet for security work between December 2007 and August 2009.
Suspended Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama, whose authority was limited to signing off on contracts up to R10million, was accused of going beyond his powers by approving the tender to GNS.
At the time Nyanda defended Gama, saying Gama was being persecuted - just like President Jacob Zuma had been.
But on Wednesday, two unnamed Transnet managers were dismissed, allegedly for manipulating the R55million tender process.
Nyanda's spokesperson Tiyhani Rikhotso said the minister was no longer an active member of GNS even though he had declared an interest.
"It becomes more irrelevant to his office now if you say the contract was awarded in 2007 because he was not even a minister then," Rikhotso said.
Cope MP Juli Killian this week asked the Public Protector to investigate Nyanda.
Welcoming the decisive action by Transnet against the two managers, Killian said: "The next step would be for Minister Nyanda to refund the R55million proceeds from what was essentially a highly irregular, if not blatantly corrupt, transaction."