Police lease debacle gets new spin

2011-12-04 21:30

Johannesburg - The basis of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's findings on the controversial R500m police headquarters lease has been repudiated.

This after new information was submitted to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria by suspended public works acting director general (DG) Sam Vukela.

Vukela's supplementary affidavit contradicts Madonsela's contention that the Middestad deal was not authorised according to procurement policies.

In September, Vukela filed a founding affidavit, which is heavily reliant on Madonsela's findings, to get the lease with property mogul Roux Shabangu nullified.

In his latest affidavit, Vukela suggests that Madonsela relied on incorrect information, as the reason the Middestad lease was not put out for a competitive process was because the department treated it as an "urgent" matter.

He also claims that he was instructed by his former boss, Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, who was fired by President Jacob Zuma in October, not to include information in his founding affidavit that would "gainsay" Madonsela’s findings.

Vukela says the affidavit, filed on Monday, was meant to "disclose certain facts which were omitted from the [founding] affidavit".

He claims that he got involved in the police leasing saga when Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa allegedly complained to then public works minister Geoff Doidge about the department not cooperating with the SAPS on accommodation needs.

He claims that he was asked by Doidge to intervene on May 14 last year.

Mthethwa has refuted the allegations, while Doidge - who is now ambassador to Sri Lanka - refused to comment on the allegations since the matter was before the courts.

Vukela stated: "I was informed by the minister [Doidge] that he had received a complaint [I use the word 'complaint' loosely] from the minister responsible for the SAPS that the [public works department] was not cooperating with the SAPS in regards to office accommodation.

"I was requested by the minister [Doidge] to personally intervene and ensure that the SAPS is given the necessary assistance."

Mthethwa's spokesperson Zweli Mnisi questioned the credibility of Vukela's affidavit, which has also been slated by the State Attorney's office.

Mnisi said: "The minister does not get involved in operational matters of the SAPS. We can’t comment on speculative hearsay which has no proof. If the minister made the complaint in a letter, maybe we could respond. But we don't respond to verbal communication by the minister."

Blamed Cele

Vukela's affidavit sheds light on the goings-on in the department prior to the awarding of the lease.

He also rejects both the department and Madonsela's findings that the contract should have gone out on a "competitive" bid tender process and not a "negotiated process", as alleged in the founding affidavit.

He claims that he delegated powers to the department's special national bid adjudication committee to enter into a "negotiated process" with Shabangu.

According to Vukela, the department "negotiated" 2 415 of the 2 950 lease agreements between 2008 and September this year.

This, Vukela adds, was while only 226 agreements went through the competitive bidding process.

In the first affidavit, Vukela and Mahlangu-Nkabinde laid the blame for the lease debacle at the door of suspended police chief General Bheki Cele and other SAPS officials.

State Attorney Moipone Mosidi slammed Vukela for "irregularly" filling papers without informing the State Attorney's office.

Mosidi said: "He is still an employee of public works and the supplementary affidavit must be filed through us.

"As far as I am concerned, I still represent the department and he is still on oath as acting for the department in this matter.

"How on earth does he supplement the affidavit without consulting the new minister?”

Vukela's lawyer Themba Langa said the new minister, Thulas Nxesi, and Mahlangu-Nkabinde did not object to Vukela's intention to file the supplementary affidavit.

Vukela also alleges that Mahlangu-Nkabinde misled him in a telephonic conversation on September 14 that he would be relieved of his duties as acting director general only when a suitable candidate was appointed.

However, two days later, Mahlangu-Nkabinde suspended Vukela. Vukela claims this was not in "consonance" with their telephonic agreement.

Madonsela has confirmed that Vukela lodged a complaint over his suspension but that the matter has been referred to the public service commission.

  • Ibhubesi - 2011-12-04 21:49

    This where the infighting will get worse now. The money is drying up and the vultures will now start eating each other up!

      Gollum - 2011-12-04 22:50

      Unfortunately the vultures don't consume each other. When the pigs notice the trough getting empty, the cash-cow taxpayer gets milked even more.

  • Johann - 2011-12-04 22:02

    Snakepit ...

  • TheWatcher - 2011-12-04 22:07

    round and round and round we go

      Atholl - 2011-12-04 23:48

      When suspicious activity hits the courts - it gets dirty. Half truths, twisted facts and omitted details can spin any story. People who make a living out of lies are economical and comical with the truth. ... but there is one certainty ... as the Mthethwa's, Doidge's, Mnisi's and Mahlangu-Nkabinde's will discover : When they were initially seized of the problem - they should have dealt with and thoroughly resolved them because: .... when the problem returns - it gets bigger.

  • Cracker - 2011-12-04 22:14

    The technology is available. Electronically record ALL your conversations and dealings. Let them realize that you may just have the upper hand with your voice/voice-visual recordings. If you are allowed to make notes of a conversation, you are also allowed to electronically record it. Don't let urban myths about confidentiality and the other usual BS ideas doing the rounds prevent you from keeping the most accurate record available of your dealings with what is clearly becoming a state and certain individuals out of control. What a rotten environment we have to sit up with.

      TheWatcher - 2011-12-04 22:35

      Most cellphones can do this. I must admit this is a fairly good suggestion - at least with business dealings. If you want to get round the confidentiality thing you can simply say that you are recording the conversation and be upfront about it. I'm no law expert so don't take my word on that.

  • Xavier7034 - 2011-12-04 22:30

    How are the general public expected to understand the veracity of ANY of the "deals" that are entered into on "our" public servants. The very least we should have been able to expect is a measure of integrity from people who have somehow been put in charge of what was a relatively sophisticated economy. Not only are they letting us down, but also themselves, and the future of this country - which once held so much it seems that they are hellbent on destroying it ALL - for WHAT? Self-enrichment? How can anybody who gets into money in such a nefarious way look at themselves in the mirror? WHAT ARE YOU BAST**RD* doing to our heritage?

  • velastardust - 2011-12-04 22:38

    Ass covering and finger pointer maneuver. Ill equipped and untrustworthy to hold their office in public works. What an absolute waste. Stock them and start hurling rotten fruit!

  • Deeteem - 2011-12-05 05:20

    Re instate Robben Island as a prison for "government thieves" and see how fast it will be filled !!

  • Kevin - 2011-12-05 05:28

    Why the hell does it take so long for these nitwits ti be jailed?

  • CALAMITYSA - 2011-12-05 05:48

    Rather try to tell the real truth. Both the leases are in principle totally UN-acceptable. Cancel it and stop blaming each other. And STOP the CORRUPT CULTURE of the ANC. Please help somebody - have we got a leader SOMEWHERE?

  • Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-05 06:02

    Jeez, what a revolting bunch this ANC has turned out to be. Its like a cesspool of self enriching gluttons ruling this country - no wonder nothing ever gets done regarding providing services to the people. Hard to believe it has become this bad, does not seem to be an honest soul amongst them! Round and round in circles of deceit - seems they won't sort themselves out either, every one of them with his own self enriching agenda, hence they all pull in different directions.

  • Silvana - 2011-12-05 06:09

    What a juvenile web of intrigue. No wonder nothing gets accomplished in givernment. Everyone is always pointing fingers. When a fish smells rotten, check the head, that's where the rot starts.

      Glenda - 2011-12-05 08:51

      Agree check the head!

  • pws69 - 2011-12-05 06:22

    "According to Vukela, the department "negotiated" 2 415 of the 2 950 lease agreements between 2008 and September this year." So, can we assume this is an admission of guilt in breaking the law 2415 times? Funny also how in each an every controversial tender to date it has been issued on an "urgent' requirement. If this ANC government cannot plan properly, they must resign with immediate effect.

      Glenda - 2011-12-05 08:55

      The banks have also been involved. They,the ANC, get their friends to buy the building, sign a head lease, and the banks give the finance.Reason for this is the property is owned by a 'white' and they will not rent from them 'Previously advantaged' Must impower the 'Previously disadvanged'.

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