POLITICAL NEWS - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for an investigation into the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature following their alleged R9 million irregular payment for Nelson Mandela’s statue in Mbombela.
“The Mpumalanga government irregularly paid millions to a company that was not tax-compliant to construct a statue of Nelson Mandela near the provincial legislature,” the party said in a statement.
According to DA, the head of department of culture, sport, and recreation Godfrey Ntombela, wrote to the Mpumalanga Provincial Treasury in October last year, complaining about the R9 million payment made by former MEC Blessing Thandi Shongwe and her colleagues.
The payment was made to Mideast Investment in the 2018/2019 financial year.
Ntombela said in the letter that the governmental body made the payment deliberately knowing that the Company was not Tax compliant and that they had “incurred an irregular expenditure by doing so”.
“When the Mandela statue was constructed in the 2018/2019 financial year, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and some concerned residents of Mpumalanga raised concerns with MEC Shongwe and her department about the R9,151,848 paid to Mideast Investments, based on the amount and the fact that the statue did not look anything like Mandela at that time.
“We also reported the matter to the public protector and the auditor general then, but they did nothing.”
The DA said they asked questions during a meeting in the legislature regarding the matter.
The party further claims that the department responded to their questions saying that the company “conformed to the prescripts set out by supply chain management”.
“Therefore, various criteria on functionality held that bids which scored low on the functionality threshold were disqualified,” the department told the DA.
Ntombela reportedly told the DA that the tender which was awarded to Mideast Investments was irregular due to Shongwe and her department being aware that the company was not tax-compliant.
“It is sad that as South Africa celebrates 30 years of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, his legacy is being distorted and tarnished by the ANC-led Mpumalanga government through dubious financial dealings.”
“We call on Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane and the South African Revenue Services to do a thorough investigation on Blessing Thandi Shongwe and her relationship with Mideast Investments concerning the Mandela statue.
“They must pay back the money and face the arm of the law if they are found to have bent the regulations. This is corruption on its highest level and it must be dealt with,” said the DA.
The party also said they will register a criminal case at the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) if the matter was not dealt with.