- Ace Magashule's sons, Tshepiso and Thato, have been awarded tenders to the value of R2.7 million, according to a Daily Maverick report.
- The award was made after the provincial treasury decided to centralise Covid-19 supply procurement, to support local businesses.
- Earlier this week, presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko took a leave of absence following an investigation into a tender for Covid-19 supplies awarded to her husband's company.
Free State Treasury head of department Godfrey Mahlatsi says the provincial treasury "would not have discriminated against" two companies linked to Ace Magashule's sons "based on the fact that their father is the former premier of the Free State Province".
Magashule's sons Tshepiso and Thato have been awarded government contracts for Covid-19 goods and services, Daily Maverick reported on Friday.
The publication reported that the provincial treasury had awarded contracts with a combined value of R2.7 million to Motheko Projects and Marvel Deeds, owned by Tshepiso Magashule and Thato Magashule respectively.
The tenders have been awarded amid reports that the province's Finance MEC Gadija Brown is close to Ace Magashule.
It is not clear what goods or services the companies would provide, only that they are related to Covid-19 procurements, the publication said.
Despite denying to Daily Maverick any wrongdoing in the awarding of the tenders, the provincial treasury had not yet issued a response to News24 at the time of publication.
Comment from Ace Magashule was not immediately available and will be added once received.
The ANC's Pule Mabe told Daily Maverick that the party needed more information about the contracts in question before commenting on the matter.
In May 2020, the provincial government made the move to centralise the procurement of Covid-19 goods and services, a decision based on supporting the local economy.
Responding to questions from News24, Free State Treasury head of department Godfrey Mahlatsi confirmed the tenders awarded to Tshepiso and Thato related "to the procurement processes for the procurement of the Covid-19 commodities".
On the centralisation of procurement, Mahlatsi said: "The decision to centralise the procurement was not taken by the Provincial Treasury, but by the Provincial Executive Council.
"The main reason was to ensure that processes are duly followed, to avoid inconsistencies in the province, to make sure that as many service providers as possible are afforded the opportunity seeing that the economy has contracted and many businesses are not operational.
"Provincial Treasury and [the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs] were also expected to adopt a developmental approach and assist businesses that have interest to participate."
He added that the provincial treasury would not discriminate against the two companies based on the fact that Tshepiso and Thato are related to the former premier.
When asked when any disciplinary action would be taken against anyone involved in awarding the tender, Mahlatsi said: "In the event that there are any irregularities picked up, consequence management will be effected."
This is the third tender-related report involving the families of ANC members in the procurement of Covid-19 supplies.
Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko took a leave of absence from all her roles in government, pending investigations into allegations involving her and her husband and tender regulations in the Gauteng health department.
Sunday Independent reported that a R125 million personal protective equipment (PPE) contract was allegedly awarded to disputed Royal Bhaca Projects owned by her husband, Thandisizwe Diko.
Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku and his wife, City of Johannesburg Shared Services MMC Loyiso Masuku, were asked to "step aside" as the matter was under investigation.
The Daily Maverick report also alleged that former Gauteng premier and ANC NEC member Nomvula Mokonyane's daughter, Katleho, had benefitted from the Gauteng health department's Covid-19 procurement. Her company, Tuwo Rhodesia, secured a contract worth R2.7 million to supply soap to the department.
This week it also emerged that a non-profit company co-founded by Andile Ramaphosa, one of the president's sons, Andile, was given funding to modify taxis to make them safer and to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The company, SDI Force, said "no government tender" was linked to the project, TimesLive reported on Wednesday.
- Complied by Nicole McCain