Nyanda not yet off the hook

PUBLIC Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan will not take immediate steps to make Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda pay back the R19million his company received in an irregular contract.

This is despite a disciplinary hearing which found suspended Transnet Freight Rail chief executive Siyabonga Gama guilty of exceeding his authority in awarding General Nyanda Security Risk Advisory Services the R19million contract.

The company is part owned by Nyanda. Gama was only authorised to sign off tenders worth not more than R10million.

Cope MP Juli Killian said because the disciplinary hearing found the contract was awarded irregularly, Hogan must take steps to get the money back.

But Hogan said this week she might "raise concerns" with the Transnet board of directors later in the year.

"If there is non-compliance with the procurement process, the external auditors will report that in the annual report. The Department of Public Enterprises will then raise those concerns with the board of the public entity," said Hogan.

Annual reports will only be released publicly in two months' time.

Killian slammed the delay, saying Hogan was bound by law to take steps to recover the money.

"I think it is totally unacceptable to do nothing. Nyanda has a very powerful support base in the youth movement and that is what makes Hogan and the ANC reluctant to act against him," said Killian.

Last year, Sowetan broke the story that Nyanda's company had been paid R55million by Transnet over a 20-month period between December 2007 and July 2009 - three months after Nyanda was appointed minister.

Nyanda has defended Gama, saying Gama is the victim of persecution.