Charged HOD not suspended

2013-08-11 06:00

The head of department (HOD) who was arrested on Friday in connection with a security tender for Mpumalanga government offices will not be suspended.

Mpumalanga government spokesperson Nonkululeko Mbatha said Thulani Sibuyi was not suspended from his job and there were no internal disciplinary measures taken against him.

“This matter is in court and therefore becomes sub judice. We’re observing the court processes and will want to abide (by) them. He’s not suspended and if anything happens, pronouncements will be made,” Mbatha said.

Sibuyi, the head of the department of safety and security, has been charged with contravening the Public Finance Management Act by signing off the awarding of a tender to GNT Security.

The Hawks arrested GNT Security owner Stevens Mashaba on Thursday.

The Congress of the People (Cope) said in a statement that Sibuyi should be suspended.

Cope Mpumalanga legislature member Zale Madonsela said: “We feel that Sibuyi should not go back to office until the charges against him are dropped and urge the (safety and security) MEC Vusi Shongwe to prove he can practise what he always preaches that ... people should face the consequences of their actions, even in his very own department.”

Meanwhile, disgruntled Mpumalanga companies that attempted to interdict government from awarding security contracts worth R1.2 billion feel vindicated following the arrests of Sibuyi and Mashaba.

The companies, operating under the banner of the Mpumalanga Security Agency, approached the North Gauteng High Court in 2011 in order to have the whole tender evaluation and adjudication process for static security services in government offices reviewed, but they withdrew their application and were ordered to pay the legal costs.

Mnisi said the companies had withdrawn their application after the department promised them that the procurement process would be reviewed.

“This arrest is giving us hope that we’ll now have a leg to stand on. We took the matter to court because it appeared that the department knew the companies it wanted to award the tenders (to) as some companies were preparing to start working long before the processes were finalised,” Mnisi said.

He said that the Mpumalanga Security Agency was concerned that most of the companies that were eventually appointed were from KwaZulu-Natal.

Mnisi added that the agency had, however, accepted the department’s decision – unfair as they thought it was.

“There are things you need to accept and come to terms with ... government doesn’t owe anyone a contract,” said Mnisi.

At the time of the security companies’ unsuccessful court bid, Sibuyi denied any wrongdoing and said he was satisfied with the evaluation, adjudication and awarding of the contract.

At that time, Sibuyi said the department would have won the case if it had gone to court. He also denied that he had had any influence on the awarding of the tenders.

Mashaba is accused of submitting a fraudulent tax clearance certificate when he bid for a tender worth R4 million a month, which he won.

Sibuyi was charged with contravening the Public Finance Management Act by signing off the awarding of the tender to GNT.

They were released on R50 000 bail each by the Nelspruit regional court and the case was postponed to August 26 for further investigation.

Mpumalanga director-general Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize attended the court appearance.

Attempts to get comment from Mashaba were unsuccessful.

According to its website, GNT Security prides itself on being a wholly black-owned company, and its guards are 95% black. It is one of most visible Nelspruit-based security companies and offers armed response, medical response, communication and guarding services.

Mashaba is related to Umjindi (Barberton) executive mayor Lazarus Mashaba and is a director of 12 companies.

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