R52 million SANDF tender under the microscope

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Picture: Deaan Vivier
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Picture: Deaan Vivier

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has been asked to clean up tender irregularities in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), as more allegations pile up against senior officials.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa wrote to Mapisa-Nqakula on Thursday, requesting her to investigate a 2016 SA Navy contract for the maintenance and repairs of operational mechanical equipment worth R52 million, citing “disturbing revelations” that pointed to possible corruption and irregularities.

Holomisa said documents in his possession showed the winning bidder, RA Govender CC, was not tax-compliant at the time of awarding the bid.

He said his information also showed that the company “claimed to have the necessary and requisite capacity to deliver on the terms of the reference yet has subcontracted this service, resulting in the cost of the contract ballooning to more than R52 million”.

He alleged that the subcontractors had not been vetted for operating in a national key point, were not broad-based black economic empowerment compliant and were not registered for workmen’s compensation.

“Accordingly, I request that your department appoint credible and independent bodies to conduct a detailed investigation of these allegations,” said Holomisa.

Mapisa-Nqakula’s spokesperson, Joy Peter, confirmed receipt of the letter and said the minister was “applying her mind”.

City Press established that RA Govender CC, trading as Marine and General Engineering, had put in a bid for at least two of the contracts to service the naval fleet in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, advertised at the SANDF’s Simons Town procurement centre.

Holomisa referred Mapisa-Nqakula to the bid files, alleging that they “were fiddled with in order to fraudulently influence the bidding, and in particular, the pricing process”.

He said director of fleet logistics Rear Admiral JG Mkhonto did not support the recommendation to award the bid to RA Govender cc.

“A signed document by someone going by the name of Lamola suggests that Mkhonto had directed this person to act on behalf of his support.

Therefore this is contradictory to the one signed by Mkhonto and dated November 16 2016.”

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