Here’s why SA loses the war on corruption

2014-09-14 15:00

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It’s one of the biggest tender corruption cases against senior Mpumalanga government officials.

But this week the state’s case against the former head of the department of safety and security and a security company boss appeared to be in a shambles.

The former department head, Thulani Sibuyi, and the owner of GNT Security, Stevens Mashaba, were charged with fraud after Sibuyi awarded Mashaba’s company a three-year contract with an allegedly invalid tax certificate.

The value of the contract was R1.2?billion.

The losing bidders tried to interdict the department from issuing the tender, saying procedures had been flouted and the contracts given to KwaZulu-Natal businesses.

Although the department won that case, the contract costs have escalated. The provincial legislature heard last year the figure was R7 billion.

Earlier this year Cabinet had to bail the department out for R275?million.

On Thursday, the Nelspruit Regional Court was filled with family and friends as Sibuyi and Mashaba, dressed in ­designer suits, sat calmly in the dock.

Prosecutor Patrick Nkuna cross­examined Robert Dlamini, the secretary of the bid adjudication committee, to the amusement of defence lawyers.

Dlamini said he could not answer Nkuna’s questions as he had merely taken the minutes of the meeting and had had no hand in compiling its report.

Mashaba’s advocate, Cornwell Tsha-vungwa, suggested the prosecutor call the report’s author, but Nkuna said he hadn’t been able to find bid committee chairman Dr David Dlamini and his ­police statement had been lost.

Magistrate Vanessa Joubert then ruled that Nkuna could no longer refer to the report, which produced more laughter from the defence.

“Could you stop laughing?” demanded Joubert. “This is a court sitting.”

Nkuna’s other witnesses were no help either. Two SA Revenue Service (Sars) officials could not ­testify – one had had surgery and the ­other had resigned.

Hawks Warrant Officer Siphesihle ­Zuma admitted verifying that GNT Security’s tax clearance certificate was valid. A month later, Sars said it wasn’t.

When asked about GNT’s credit record, Landiwe Nkosi, legal adviser for the department, said there was a judgment against the company in 2008, but a healthy credit record was not a ­requirement for a tender.

The case was postponed to ­February?4 next year.

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