Still no police probe into Mbombela Stadium tenders

2011-11-12 19:07

Despite a damning forensic report that led to the axing of former Mbombela municipal manager Jacob Dladla, there has been no ­police probe into corruption claims relating to the construction of the city’s soccer stadium.

He was dismissed in March 2009, partly for violating supply chain management policies and ­sections of the Municipal ­Finance Management Act when awarding the R1.2 billion Mbombela Stadium tender.

The tender was awarded to the Mbombela Stadium Joint Venture (MSJV), a partnership between ­Basil Read and French firm Bouygues Civil Works.

An investigation by law firm Ngobe-Nkosi Attorneys found that Dladla had changed the supply chain committees’s recommendations to favour MSJV.

City Press reported last week that Dladla had received a R1.5?million golden handshake from the municipality after challenging his dismissal in court. The municipality ­argued that this made financial sense because a legal battle would have cost at least R13?million.

City Press understands the council never instituted criminal charges against Dladla, even though the law firm recommended that both internal and criminal charges be ­pursued.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Leonard Hlathi confirmed that no criminal charges had been laid. “There was no case opened by ­anyone with regard to the (alleged) tender corruption itself,” he said.

Hlathi said police had only investigated the assassination of former Mbombela speaker Jimmy Mohlala, who was killed in January 2009. He was shot and killed while on a ­crusade against alleged corruption in the stadium deal.

The Ngobe-Nkosi report, a disciplinary committee report, and ­council resolutions indicated that Mohlala had testified against Dladla before he died. He had also intended to press criminal charges.

The Ngobe-Nkosi probe was the basis for five misconduct charges against Dladla. The law firm found that he had been “roaming” Mbombela offices long before he was officially appointed in October 2006, and behaved like an “untouchable” because he defied the council on many occasions.

Dladla was involved in appointing the stadium’s project managers, Lefika Emerging Equity, which is partly owned by Kaizer Chiefs manager Bobby Motaung.

Lefika sat in on supply chain committees that appointed the joint venture, but did not declare that it was working with Basil Read on another project – the Amakhosi Stadium project in Krugersdorp. Lefika was appointed by Mbombela even though it used a fraudulent tax ­certificate.

Basil Read chief executive Marius Heyns previously told City Press his company did not act improperly. “We’re worried though because Basil Read paid for all the preliminary work on the Amakhosi Stadium for Lefika, so it does look bad that Lefika now awards a big contract to us,” said Heyns in 2008.

Mpumalanga ANC spokesperson Paul Mbenyane could not say why criminal charges had not been laid and referred questions to Mbombela spokesperson Joseph Ngala.

Ngala was not available for comment. The South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Mpumalanga condemned the council for not opening a case.

“It’s strange that there’s no criminal case in this matter. If there are people who allegedly did wrong, surely a case must be opened,” said SACP secretary Bonakele Majuba.

Cosatu secretary Fidel Mlombo said: “We’ve condemned these ­developments. What have law enforcement agencies done?”

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