Blunder costs SA R10m EU contract

2010-05-21 15:33
Cape Town - Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) chairperson Themba Godi reacted with disbelief on Friday on hearing how a careless blunder caused the loss of a R10m development contract with the European Union.

The EU had donated R10m to the Civil Society Advocacy Programme (CSAP) under its programme for reconstruction and development, but the money was recalled when a tardy official failed to sign the contract on time.

"Here is money that is supposed to empower people and we lost it because a date is set and somehow a person does things on their own time," he said in Parliament during an interrogation of the Office of the Public Protector on its annual report.

"One of the lessons here is that if there are projects which must be administered, you need to make sure you have people who are seriously minded... who don't take their national responsibility lightly."

R600 000 penalty

The three offices involved in the CSAP, the Commission on Gender Equality, the Office of the Public Protector and the SA Human Rights Commission, agreed to a three-way split of the R600 000 penalty that had to be paid to the EU for the failure of the contract.

Public Protector officials at the Scopa hearing "could not recall" the name of the CSAP official who failed to sign the contract.

"Here we are with a R200 000 liability, just because someone missed a date," Godi said.

"It is these kinds of things that reflect very badly. It is almost childish."

Themba Mthethwa, the chief executive of the Public Protector's office, said all three charter nine institutions were sued for R1m by the EU after the contract was not signed.

"We had a fall out with one of the service providers and three of us were sued," he said.

"The matter has been settled. All three institutions and the plaintiff signed an agreement late last year."

"The amount involved was just over R1m. We settled at R600 000. Each chapter nine institution agreed to pay R200 000."

No explanation

Mthethwa said the Public Protector was being represented by former acting CEO Shirley Thoke on the CSAP board, but that she had resigned before being able to explain why the R200 000 liability had to be incurred.

"She resigned before we could get an explanation," said Mthethwa, who was replaced by Thoke in October last year after being suspended by former Public Prosecutor Lawrence Mushwana.

Mthethwa, whom Mushwana accused of failing to disclose that he had been investigated by his previous employer - the South African Local Government Association - for alleged tender irregularities, returned to his position earlier this year.

Deputy Public Protector Mamiki Shai said she had wanted to take action against Thoke over the CSAP affair but that she was prevented from doing so by Mushwana.

"In as much as I wanted to take disciplinary action against this employee, I could not do it without the blessing of the Public Protector," she said.

"It was only once the previous Public Protector left that I could take action on this matter."

Shai said it had been difficult to get things done during Mushwana's tenure.

"All previous staff were reporting to the previous Public Protector. There was no room for me as the deputy to operate."
Read more on:    scopa  |  themba mthethwa  |  themba godi  |  lawrence mushwana  |  eu

Zuma must share Nkandla

2014-11-23 22:29

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a strong focus on social interaction and connecting with your friends. You may have the need to expand and connect with more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.