HOD defies MEC over R6m tender

Thandi Moraka, arts and culture MEC.
Thandi Moraka, arts and culture MEC.

A multi-million rand security contract awarded by the Limpopo department of sports, arts and culture is at the heart of a bitter fight between the department's MEC and her head of department.

This led to MEC Thandi Moraka seeking intervention with premier Stan Mathabatha after her head of department, Joseph Phukuntsi, defied instructions to cancel the tender awarded to a Joburg-based security company, Pholile, in February.

Pholile Security, which is based in Soweto, was awarded a R6m per annum contract, to guard 42 sites of the department, without going to tender.

To rub salt in the wound, the company allegedly did not have enough firearms to guard the sites, failed to compile monthly reports on time or to pay their security guards on time.

Moraka recently wrote a letter to Mathabatha to investigate how the tender was awarded to Pholile and also probe allegations of corruption against senior departmental and supply chain executives involved in awarding the tender.

The Limpopo Radical Economic Transformation (RET) have also declared war against the department and accused it of not empowering local security companies.

Moraka confirmed to Sunday World that Phukuntsi defied her instruction to cancel the contract and that she has since asked Mathabatha for intervention.

Relating the matter, Moraka said when contracts of security companies guarding the department's assets expired, they would "piggyback" on the existing contracts at other departments.

This is a practice where departments can use existing service providers that are being used by other departments.

"Instead of going to source service providers from various departments so we could appoint various companies to render these services, the HOD only went to the provincial treasury, and as a result only one security company was appointed. He misled me into believing that more than one company would be given these contracts," Moraka claimed.

Moraka said after several meetings she held with Phukuntsi she discovered that Pholile did not meet the tender specifications as the company did not have sufficient firearms required to guard the assets.

"The company did not even compile reports and also failed to pay its guards on time. This exposed the assets of the department to various kinds of risks," she said,

She said she sought for a legal opinion which advised her to terminate the contract.

"But the HOD is refusing to terminate the contract. I have written to the office of the premier to investigate allegations of corruption involving the awarding of this contract. If needs be, I will terminate this contract myself," she said.

Phukuntsi said he would not cancel the contract because that would go against the grain of the PFMA prescripts.

" I'm no defying my MEC but there would be legal repercussions if I cancel it before I could warn the service providers of their shortcomings, as decreed by the PFMA," he said.

Mathabatha's spokesperson Kenny Mathivha said the premier advised Moraka not to cancel the contract.

Pholile security company could not be reached for comment.

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