The civil rights organisation AfriForum laid a charge of corruption at the Wierdabrug police station in Centurion today. This follows the Gauteng government awarding an unlawful contract to the IT company In2IT, with which Panyaza Lesufi, Gauteng MEC for Education, has close links.
In2IT signed a three-year sponsorship agreement with the Moroka Swallows soccer club on 17 July 2019. Lesufi is the club’s president. Hardly nine months later, the Gauteng Department of Finance and E-government awarded In2IT a tender worth R30 million without following the tender process and before the Minister of Communication could approve the suspension of the tender process. The tender was awarded to In2IT within 24 hours after government had requested tenders. Thereafter, Treasury raised its dissatisfaction with the process that was followed to award the tender.
According to Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, South Africa cannot afford the plundering of taxpayers’ money through corrupt tender processes – especially during the COVID-19 crisis. Kriel argues that unlawful tenders should be opposed, especially those in which the names of senior politicians like Lesufi are mentioned. According to Kriel, Lesufi never denied in his reaction on the tender debacle that he had known about this tender. Kriel points out that Lesufi’s decision – that the Swallows had to terminate the sponsorship – was taken only after the unlawfulness of the tender award to In2IT had come to light, which is an admission that the tender process had indeed been unlawful. “If Lesufi’s association with In2IT wasn’t unlawful, why else then would he terminate his soccer club’s relations with the company the moment that questions about the tender started surfacing?”
Kriel also expresses his concern over Lesufi’s close ties with Tshepo Mokoena, one of In2IT’s directors. According to Kriel, Mokoena would have benefitted directly from the contract that was unlawfully awarded by the Gauteng government.
“Another In2IT director, Memme Maria Siyo, is employed by the State Security Agency according to recent records. Government’s code of conduct prohibits any state official from doing business with government,” Kriel adds.
According to Kriel, the company Bahwiti of Dawid Mogashoa, chairperson of the Swallows (the same club of which Lesufi is the president), also has a contract with government to provide it with vehicle tyres.
Kriel hopes that a comprehensive police investigation will shed more light on the serious questions that arose about the tender that was awarded to In2IT, and that those who acted unlawfully are brought to book.