Auditor general asked to probe Zuma friend’s R81m payment | Fin24
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Auditor general asked to probe Zuma friend’s R81m payment

May 22 2017 07:25

KwaZulu-Natal tycoon Philani Mavundla stands outside his homestead in Greytown. (Gallo Images)

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Cape Town – The auditor general will be requested to investigate why President Jacob Zuma’s friend, Philani Mavundla, was given an R81m advance payment on a tender to address acid mine drainage.

The request will come from the Democratic Alliance (DA), which criticised the payment on Sunday. The construction magnate once offered to pay Zuma’s portion of the security upgrades to his home in Nkandla.

“While empowerment deals do include advance payment as many companies who win bids do not always have the capital, in this case the beneficiary is a wildly wealthy crony of Zuma, who doesn’t need or deserve upfront payment,” said Leon Basson, the DA’s head of Water and Sanitation.

“The DA looks forward to a timely conclusion of the auditor general investigation and the possible prosecution of all those responsible for violation of state procurement regulations,” Basson said in a statement.

“Its findings and recommendations will help to insulate future tender processes from possible corrupt tendencies from those who enjoy the political cover provided by number one.”

This follows the revelations of documents, which Sunday newspaper City Press obtained, showing how Mavundla’s joint venture company was paid the R81m advance before he even broke ground on the plant – which is expressly forbidden by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

A senior Treasury official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told City Press that “there was no place and space for advance payments in the PFMA”.

“The normal way is that you supply the goods and the services, then we pay – not the other way round. The bidding process is meant to eliminate those who do not have resources and those who do not have the capacity to do the job,” the official said.

“If you can give a tender to anyone and then assist them to do the job, what is the point of procurement policies? Advancing payments means you can give a tender to anyone, without regard to whether they have the resources or capacity to deliver.”

The expose was the latest instalment of City Press’ Watergate investigation, which previously exposed the scale of corruption in bulk water delivery projects, as well as how Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane’s young companion has been effectively running her department, and how Phase Two of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project was stalled by Mokonyane in apparent efforts to ensure that businesspeople close to her got a slice of the R26bn deal.

nomvula mokonyane  |  zuma  |  jacob  |  philani mavundla


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