‘I was not involved’ – Lesufi distances himself from R30m IT tender

Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Trevor Kunene
Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Trevor Kunene

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has distanced himself from the disputed R30 million IT and cybersecurity contract that the provincial department of e-government awarded within 24 hours to In2IT Technologies.

Lesufi also said, in a statement on Tuesday, that the professional football club he is involved with – Moroka Swallows – has terminated its sponsorship relationship with In2IT Technologies.

“I was not involved in this tender, nor was I lobbied by the company or the department of e-government to support the bid,” he said.

As a leader of society, our actions, publicly and privately, should not leave doubts in the minds of our people about our commitment to clean government and the need to protect state resources
Panyaza Lesufi

However, he said “as a person who strongly believes in leadership beyond reproach, I have since asked Swallows FC to immediately resume the legal and administrative process to terminate the R150 000 per month sponsorship without necessarily insinuating that the company is guilty or not”.

Lesufi said when Swallows registered with the PSL, he recused himself from ownership responsibilities.

“As a leader of society, our actions, publicly and privately, should not leave doubts in the minds of our people about our commitment to clean government and the need to protect state resources.”

The ANC caucus in the Gauteng legislature praised Premier David Makhura for the “speedy response” following his request for the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate the ICT tender.

Read: SIU to look into Gauteng’s R30m express IT tender

Chairperson of the ANC’s sub-committee of finance, Joe Mpisi, said on Tuesday the party’s caucus wanted “the investigation into alleged irregularities to be expedited so that appropriate action could be taken on anyone found to have acted improperly in the event that such allegations are proven to be true”.

As caucus we will spare no effort in fighting corruption whenever and wherever we find it
Joe Mpisi

Mpisi said the caucus “notes and appreciates the efforts taken by Gauteng provincial government to promote good and clean governance by the introduction of the Open Tender System”.

“As caucus we will spare no effort in fighting corruption whenever and wherever we find it,” he said.

Chairperson of the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) in the Gauteng provincial legislature, Sochayile Khanyile, said in a statement that the legislature had resolved in December 2019 for the Gauteng department of e-government to “fast-track the finalisation of the contract on the Security Operation Centre (SOC) and provide the legislature with a progress report every quarter and continuing up until finalisation thereof”.

Khanyile said the resolution “was informed by Scopa’s concerns about the month-to-month contract on the SOC which continued to incur irregular expenditure”.

He said the committee was, prior to the declaration by President Cyril Ramaphosa of the 21-day national lockdown, expecting the progress report from the department by the end of March.

He said Scopa had previously raised concerns with MEC of Finance, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, and requested clarity following recent media reports on the alleged irregularities in the processing and approval of quotations for the 12-month contract.

Khanyile said the committee will ask Makhura for a report on the progress of the forensic investigations. “Furthermore, based on the outcomes of the investigation, Scopa will request the department to account on the findings – with the purpose of providing recommendations to ensure compliance with the Public Finance Management Act,” he said.

He said that in the meantime, Scopa was “assessing its course of action and the possibility of working with (Mpisi’s) finance portfolio committee on dealing with the matter”.


Setumo Stone
Political journalist
City Press
p:+27 11 713 9001
w:www.citypress.co.za  e: setumo.stone@citypress.co.za
      
 
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