Dirco to appeal judgment related to R118 million New York land deal

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  • The Department of International Relations and Cooperation will be appealing a judgment related to a R118 million New York land deal.
  • It approached the court in 2018 to overturn its own decision to award a tender to Simeka Group and Regiments Capital for the deal.
  • Simeka said it was ready to proceed with the project. 

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) will be appealing a judgment that said its bid to have its own decision overturned in granting a tender to establish a new diplomatic mission in New York was "unconvincing".

An official in the department has confirmed that it was in the process of lodging an appeal against a judgment in the North Gauteng High Court.

The department had already paid R118 million towards purchasing a piece of land on which to establish the mission, but the money was forfeited when it failed to conclude the deal.

In 2018, Dirco approached the court to overturn its own decision to award a tender to Simeka Group and Regiments Capital as development partners to design, construct, operate, maintain, and finance suitable office and accommodation for South Africa’s permanent mission to the United Nations and its Consulate General in New York.

The tender was awarded in 2016, but Regiments was dropped from the joint venture the next year after the Simeka group discovered that the company had links with the Gupta family.

READ | Court rules New York land tender 'should stand', says Dirco's explanation is 'unconvincing'

This was also one of the reasons why National Treasury flagged the tender as irregular.

The judge ruled that Simeka now found itself at the short end of the stick with Dirco bringing the application in an apparent attempt to avoid a declaration that it was responsible for fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

The sale was cancelled in July 2018.

Simeka executives told News24 they were ready to meet with Dirco to discuss how the project could proceed.

The purchase of the land has been in the spotlight recently with the suspension of Dirco's chief financial officer Caiphus Ramashau and Director-General Kgabo Mohoai in relation to the scandal.

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