The Free State Department of Police, Roads, and Transport has been fingered in the latest allegations involving Thoko Malembe, daughter of Premier Ace Magashule, including tender maladministration as well as tender rigging.
According to an anonymous source, the department’s fleet management advertised seven tenders on the e-tender website on 8 and 10 June 2016.
The source claims that following the advertisement of these tenders on the two days, a compulsory briefing session was held for all contract bidders in Parys. However, what was strange about this session, was the fact that the goods and services for six of the tenders under question were to be held in Bloemfontein. The tender documents advertised also did not specify that there would be a compulsory briefing session.
“The bidders could not read or analyse or even arrange to go to the site as not enough time had been given. Bidders were only given one day’s working notice, which was unfair because briefing sessions are supposed to provide clarity on issues relating to administration and other technicalities relating to the tender. Without proper preparation, the exercise was fruitless and placed bidders at a disadvantage,” the anonymous source said.
Following receipt of this information, Bloemfontein Courant looked into the companies that were awarded the tenders in question on the said dates and found that two of the seven tenders were awarded to Malembe, through Botlkowa Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a company she owns.
She registered the company in February 2013 and according to her website, Ngwathe Municipality, SedTrade and the Department of Public Works are among her clients. She had also been awarded tenders by the provincial Department of Justice and Correctional Services.
Director at Fleet Management, Muhammed Ismail, did not respond to written questions on how this reflects on his department, whether Malembe had declared that she is Magashule’s daughter and how much these two tenders she had been awarded were worth, as the information was never made public. Despite several attempts to get a hold of Ismail, Bloemfontein Courant could not reach him.
Magashule also would not respond to questions from the media at a recent event he attended in Mangaung’s Ward 3, stating he would be late for his next engagement if he should speak to the media.
Meanwhile, Executive Director at Corruption Watch, David Lewis, said the fact that Magashule’s name and reputation have been tarnished from the number of dodgy deals he’s been accused of, makes this matter another one where it might be a skeleton in his closet. “The fact that this young lady (Malembe) owns a fairly young company that rose to success in such a short amount of time raises eyebrows. Also, the fact that she is his daughter does not help the matter much,” Lewis said, and while it may be hard to prove nepotism for those who intend to lay charges against the department, this speaks to the ethics of those who awarded Malembe these tenders, knowing she was Magashule’s daughter.