Nkandla 11 won’t plead guilty to pending charges

2015-01-04 10:19

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Cape Town - The 11 Department of Public Works officials accused of flouting procurement procedures in relation to the upgrading of President Jacob Zuma’s controversial Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal will not settle with the state by pleading guilty.

According to the Sunday Independent, the officials, all represented by the Public Servants Association (PSA), are reportedly determined to allow the internal disciplinary hearings – set for next month - to go ahead.

Claude Naker, PSA manager, told the newspaper that the officials “do not fear anything at this stage and would want the process to continue so that they can prove their innocence”.

This comes after a 12th official, director of projects, Itumeleng Molosi, was handed a two month suspension after pleading guilty to charges relating to the Nkandla scandal.

Initial reports, as reported by News24, state that the remaining 11 officials could follow suit. The PSA has however, put this speculation to rest.

Molosi - represented by Nehawu at his hearing, served a brief spell as department of public works KZN director towards the end of the construction of the R246m upgrades of Zuma’s Nkandla residence.

Two-month suspension

At a closed hearing in Durban, Molosi admitted to failing to ensure that all Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) procurement processes were followed. He accepted a two-month unpaid suspension as part of his penalty, but with his job and pension intact.

Molosi would not comment on whether he took a deal to save his pension and referred all queries to the department of public works (DPW). But he did say that other officials implicated haven’t spoken to him since he admitted his guilt.

Another official facing sanction said the first he heard about Molosi’s deal was when it was published in City Press.

Naiker meanwhile said Molosi’s deal “surprised us”.

“As it stands, our 12 clients have all stated they are not guilty.

“Once the disciplinary hearings commence and we see the evidence, we will have a better idea [as to what our members’ options are],” he said.

He said if the DPW had strong evidence against Molosi, then his deal was “a good result” as his pension and job are still intact.

Naiker said the majority of officials face charges similar to Molosi’s.

A court application by Media24 to gain access to the process is pending.

But Media24 lawyer Willem de Klerk said nothing stops the accused officials and the DPW “from settling at any time, even though the media application is pending”.

Molosi was a member of the department’s bid adjudication committee, accused by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) of financial misconduct and irregular expenditure.

The SIU found that Molosi approved a “negotiated procurement strategy” instead of an open tender system by which tenders are advertised.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  nkandla upgrade

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