Swallows FC end R150‚000-a-month deal after sponsor's government tender worth millions raises eyebrows
Promotion-chasing lower tier side Swallows FC have terminated their three-year R150‚000 a month sponsorship contract with an information company that scored a multi-million tender with the Gauteng provincial government.
IN2ITTechnologies made the news for all the wrong reasons at the weekend after City Press reported that the Gauteng government may have flouted due processes in awarding a R30m tender in a huff to the Sandton-based company.
IN2ITTechnologies and Swallows FC announced a three-year sponsorship deal with the GladAfrica Championship club in July 2019.
But the deal has now been terminated by the club as the provincial government stands accused of foul play in the awarding of the tender.
The newspaper reported that the R30m tender‚ to provide Gauteng’s e-government department with IT services‚ was concluded within 24 hours and won by In2IT Technologies.
The news of the abrupt termination of the sponsorship was revealed by Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi on Tuesday.
Lesufi‚ a known Swallows staunch supporter who led the efforts in resuscitating the club from the dead when successive relegations saw it plunge into the amateur ranks‚ was also at the forefront of acquiring the sponsorship with the information technology company.
“It has come to my attention that a company that sponsors a soccer team that I am involved (in)‚ Swallows FC‚ is involved in a tender dispute with the Gauteng Provincial government‚” Lesufi said in a tweet on Tuesday.
“I have since asked Swallows FC to immediately resume legal and administrative process to terminate the 150k per month sponsorship‚” said Lesufi.
Lesufi’s role or title at Swallows FC‚ if any at all‚ is obscure. He describes his involvement with the club as “involved.”
Lesufi said the termination of the contract is no insinuation that IN2ITTechnologies were guilty of any foul play.
Though he led the revival of the club‚ Lesufi distanced himself from its ownership.
“It must be stated that when the team was registered with the PSL‚ I recused myself from the ownership of the team‚” Lesufi said.
At face value‚ the City Press report did not mention Lesufi’s name.
The newspaper neither insinuated that Lesufi‚ as an executive member in the Gauteng government‚ had an influence in the awarding of the R30m contract to a company which does business with an entity (Swallows FC) he is involved in.
But the MEC‚ and the club‚ saw it necessary to terminate its relationship with IN2ITTechnologies after just a single media report accusing the Gauteng government of illegally deviating from due process.
“I was not involved in this tender nor was I lobbied by the company or the Department of eGovernment to support the bid‚” said Lesufi.
The Gauteng top six official‚ who was appointed the province’s MEC for Finance and e-Government in May 2019 before returning to his post in Education a day later‚ said he believes in leadership that is beyond reproach.
“As a leader of society‚ our actions‚ publicly or privately‚ should not leave doubt in the minds of our people about our commitment to clean government and the need to protect state resources.
Swallows FC chairman David Mogashoa said the club decided to give the company "time to deal with their dispute with Gauteng Provincial Government.""We are grateful for the journey we have walked with them. But we feel it’s important that they be given time to deal with this matter," said Mogashoa.