Firms deny tender claims

2013-02-09 00:00

COMPANIES contracted to do lucrative upgrade work at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla compound deny inflating prices or any wrongdoing.

The companies were responding to statements by Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi’s announcement that an inter-ministerial task team had discovered irregularities in the appointment of service providers and procurement of goods and services.

The task team was appointed in November after the costs of the upgrade were exposed, causing an outcry that found its way to Parliament.

Nxesi said all the irregularities found by the task team would be referred to the Special Investigation Unit, the Auditor-General and the South African Police Service to investigate.

He suggested that prices had been inflated and there were grounds for further investigations. He also raised questions about the millions of rand spent on consultants.

But Glen Norton, a Durban office branch manager at Otis — manufacturers of elevators, escalators and moving walkways — said they had tendered for the project and did everything by the book.

“We have done everything above board and our prices never escalated. We went through normal tender processes. We hear about these things [irregularities] … we don’t know anything about them,” said Norton.

Dumisani Qwaru, director of Ilangalethu Consultants — a consulting quantity surveyor company with a R13,2 million contract at Nkandla — said they would welcome any investigations.

“I think it would be best if the investigating teams address the issues. The truth needs to be told and I think it is the best thing that can be done,” said Qwaru.

Ernest Ngubo, chief executive officer of Igoda Projects, an engineering consulting firm which got a R2,7 million contract, said even though he wasn’t closely involved in the project he believed that they did everything according to the requirements.

Pamela Mfeka, the sole member of Moneymine 310, which scored R60,9 million worth of Nkandla business, said she had nothing to hide regarding her contract and any price escalations.

“They must continue with the investigation because I got my contract fair and square … If you want anything else, go and speak to Public Works,” said Mfeka.

Some of the 15 companies who shared in the Nkandla contracts declined to comment.

Nxesi said R206 million was spent on security upgrades and consultants, and this included R135 million for “operational needs” and R71 million for consultants and security features such as bullet-proof windows and security fencing.

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