Zuma event, Mandela race probed

2019-11-12 15:00
Runners pass through the finish line under the watch full eye of Mandela at the finish of the Mandela Day Marathon at the capture site outside Howick yesterday. PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

Runners pass through the finish line under the watch full eye of Mandela at the finish of the Mandela Day Marathon at the capture site outside Howick yesterday. PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

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The Mandela Day Marathon and Jacob Zuma’s 2017 presidential visit to Impendle are among events whose tenders will be subject to a Special Investigative Unit (SIU) probe into uMgungundlovu District Municipality.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a proclamation for the unit to look into “the procurement of, or contracting” for goods and services for event management services for the marathon, Zuma’s annual visit to Inzinga, in Impendle, in December 2017, uMgungundlovu’s intergrated development plan (IDP) imbizo as well as the SA Local Government Association Games (Salga Games).

As part of the probe, the SIU will look into whether the contracts were fair, cost-effective, in line with legislation and did not cause the municipality to incur any unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

According to documents leaked to The Witness, the service provider that was awarded the tender for Zuma’s visit, imbizo and the marathon was Proactive Public Relations and Events. The Hillcrest-based company is said to be owned by Zamandulo Mlotshwa.

Last year several payments were made by uMgungundlovu to Proactive’s FNB account for the events. In July last year it was paid close to R349 000 for providing catering, sound system, toilets and transport for the IDP imbizo. Last October a payment of just over R6,9 million was made by the district for services rendered during the Mandela Day Marathon. These included arranging accommodation and transport for some of the guests and runners, catering and race-related logistics.

The following month the district seems to have made another payment to Proactive for close to R4,4 million for the same marathon. This appeared to be for the actual race expenses such as trophies, athletes’ refreshments and something labelled as “squeeze backs for SABC flighting”.

For the 2018 Salga Games, uMgungundlovu gave the tender to KwaMashu’s Inono Events Co-ordination CC owned by Thembinkosi Ngidi.

The Witness reported on the games, which saw more than 4 000 athletes from across the province descending in Pietermaritzburg in December.

However, uMgungundlovu made a payment of R3 million to Inono prior to the event, in October.

In his proclamation, Ramaphosa also wants the SIU to investigate any alleged “serious misconduct in connection with the affairs of the municipality”, the improper or unlawful conduct of the officials, misappropriation of the district’s funds or property as well as any “unlawful or improper conduct by any person, which caused or may cause serious harm to the interests of the public”.

On Monday uMgungundlovu manager Ray Ngcobo said the district had not received any communication from the SIU about the proclamation but he had seen the media reports on it.

“Once we hear from them, we will fully co-operate with their investigation and supply them with all the information they need to make sure that their investigation is a success because we are also against corruption and want to curb any irregular or wasteful expenditure.”

He said Zuma’s annual visit to Impendle was not just a district event but it was done in collaboration with provincial government and the presidency as Zuma was still the head of state at the time.

“These [including the Mandela Day Marathon] are historical events that happened before our time and unfortunately some of the people that were involved in the procurement processes are no longer with the municipality but we will still try our best to get the SIU everything they need to conduct their investigation.”

Ngcobo said uMgungundlovu would also be conducting its own internal investigation on some of the issues contained in Ramaphosa’s proclamation but would not be drawn into naming them.

Attempts to get comment from Inono and Proactive were unsuccessful.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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