MEC drags feet on tender probe

THE chairperson of the bid and adjudication committee in Mpumalanga, Wasnaar Hlabangoane, who was responsible for the awarding of a multi-million rand contracts to Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza's ex-fiancée, is in hot water.

Hlabangoane and provincial public works department head Priscilla Nkwinika are being probed for corruption.

This follows a Sowetan exposé last month that Ruth Funi Silinda, Mabuza's former fiancée, was awarded government contracts despite her company lacking the required capacity and having been disqualified by the Construction Industry Board.

When the tenders were asked for the building of an archives building for R161million, a clinic for R14million and general wards at Temba Hospital for R35million last year, Mabuza was the MEC for agriculture. Earlier this year the integrity management unit in the premier's office recommended that Nkwinika and Hlabangoane be charged.

Public works MEC Clifford Mkasi yesterday defended the government's failure to charge the two, saying the preliminary report was "insufficient".

Mkasi said he had met the unit and agreed that their investigation should be concluded within two weeks.