New waste tender row

2010-09-12 13:51

A company with business links to top Limpopo ANC officials and businessmen has won a controversial R200 million medical waste tender.

A consortium made up of two companies – Ingwe Waste and Buhle Waste – won the lucrative tender last month.

David Mogale, the owner of ­Ingwe Waste, is the business partner of two businessmen whose company was dropped after ­initially bidding for the contract.

The two men – Selbie Manthata and Ali Boshielo – are co-owners of Limpopo Medical Waste, which had tendered as part of a joint venture with Buhle Waste.

Manthata has close links with Premier Cassel Mathale while Boshielo is a member of the ANC Youth League and a close ­associate of Julius Malema.

Earlier this year, the Limpopo health and social development department had to readvertise the tender after complaints from other bidding companies that the ­contract would be awarded to the Buhle Waste-Limpopo Medical Waste consortium because of its political connections.

Company registration records show that Mogale, Manthata and Boshielo became co-directors of Tzaneen-based Limpopo Steam in January this year.

Mogale also partners Buhle Waste in the current medical waste disposal contract as part of a consortium called Tshumisano.

The current contract ends in November.

It was extended for six months after its readvertisement.

Mogale confirmed he was in business with both Manthata and Boshielo, saying he and Buhle Waste’s owner, Dr Phetole Sekete, were longtime business partners.

“They (the losing bidders) are just bitter. It is a blue lie that I am fronting for Selbie (Manthata) and Ali (Boshielo).

I am a businessman on my own,” he said.

He added that Manthata and Boshielo were “not silent partners” and that they would “not even receive a cent”.

Manthata refused to be drawn on the contract and his association with Mogale. Boshielo could not be reached for comment.

The losing bidders, under the banner of the Forum of Limpopo Entrepreneurs (Fole), say the tender is riddled with alleged irregularities, political interference and nepotism.

They are planning ­legal action after meeting Mathale and after the provincial ANC failed to address their concerns.

Similar complaints earlier this year had apparently played a role in the department’s decision to readvertise the tender in April.

After the readvertisement, the department changed its technical evaluation committee, leading to complaints and a threat of legal action by Fole.

Dr Ntsile Kgaphole, who chaired the new committee, ­confirmed knowing Sekete, but denied they were friends.

Kgaphole did not declare this to the committee, saying there was no need to do so because he had no relationship with Sekete ­beyond knowing him as a former classmate and a fellow doctor.

“You declare that you have got a relationship with a person and, as such, it will cause a conflict of interest. How many people do I know in business in Limpopo?”

Sekete refused to comment, saying he had referred an earlier City Press article about the tender to the press ombudsman.

Departmental head Dr Aggrey Morake said he was not aware of any allegations of friendship ­between Sekete and Kgaphole.

“I wouldn’t know the friends of people here, and that is not really an issue that I deal with. I deal with processes, if they were ­followed and if they were not.”

Yesterday, Premier Mathale lashed out at corrupt service providers who compromised the quality of services to honour kickbacks to officials and politicians.

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