Multimillion tender challenged

FINGERED: Leshabe Rampedi. Pic. Frank Maponya. © Sowetan.
FINGERED: Leshabe Rampedi. Pic. Frank Maponya. © Sowetan.

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Allegations of corruption have rocked Limpopo's department of local government and housing.

This follows reports that Leshabe Rampedi, the department's head, had allegedly allocated tenders worth R115million to his peers.

At the centre of the row are allegations that Rampedi had flouted procurement procedures in awarding the tenders.

Rampedi is the former municipal manager of the Polokwane municipality. He was appointed departmental head in 2005.

After Rampedi's appointment, his predecessor, Pandelani Ramagoma, was seconded to Premier Sello Moloto's office.

Ramagoma allegedly did the same during his tenure.

Rampedi is accused of allocating a R115million contract to Jack Mokobi, the former special adviser to the premier, to complete 2981 RDP houses.

Mokobi is a member of a consortium called MPPJ&N, which received the contract to complete the houses.

The project was abandoned by other developers in the province. They had been paid R58million before the project was completed.

Leader of the United Independent Front, Ike Kekana, said his party had asked the standing committee on public accounts to request records from the premier's office detailing when the tender was advertised and who the losing bidders were.

Kekana said that his party suspected that the tender was not publicly advertised.

Another allegation relates to the purchasing of land in Bendor outside Polokwane for the building of RDP houses.

The land was bought from a leading businessman for R28million, but the valuers allegedly disagreed with the amount. They had argued that the price that was paid was too high for the site.

Rampedi also allegedly entered into a lease agreement for offices for his department for 30 years with businessman, Kingsley Duba.

Efforts to get the service level agreement from either the department or from Duba were unsuccessful yesterday.

"It is clear that Rampedi did not consult when taking some of the decisions and he must be charged for that," said Kekana.

But Clayson Monyela, spokesman for the department, refuted the allegations and said normal procedures had been followed before all the tenders were awarded.

"There is nothing that is fishy here," Monyela said.