Some 2 000 tenderpreneurs from Limpopo and other provinces caused commotion at a venue in Polokwane on Tuesday before proceeding to the Department of Education to embark on protest action following allegations of fraud and corruption pertaining to the awarding of feeding scheme and low-cost housing tenders.
Traffic was moving at a snail’s pace on the R81 and contractors occupied all available parking space in close proximity. The contractors had been invited to a venue in the city by Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) to attend a briefing session on low-cost houses tenders but businesspersons who are allegedly affiliated to the Radical Economic Transformation Forum disrupted the session.
The group claimed that the department had already awarded tenders to certain service providers to build low-cost housing on a three-year contract. Forum spokesperson, Agi ‘General’ Makhura alleged that tenders in the province were given to the same companies and correct procedures were not followed in the awarding of tenders. He confirmed that the session was disrupted by members of the forum and reiterated that they wanted to send a message to the Provincial Government. Service providers are sick and tired of bidding for tenders knowing that they won’t be appointed, he state, adding that tenders in the province should benefit Limpopo contractors.
Makhura went on to say they are not going to allow a company from another province to render services in Limpopo. He further stressed that they don’t want to liaise with government officials anymore but Premier Stan Mathabatha and President Cyril Ramaphosa as he alleged that the same officials are the ones awarding tenders to their friends, family and relatives.
After disrupting the briefing session, the crowd proceeded to the Department of Education requesting MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe’s attention in relation to school nutrition programme feeding scheme tenders which were allegedly awarded illegally. Members are accusing the department of nepotism, favouritism and awarding tenders irregularly.
According to the chairperson of the Radical Economic Transformation Forum Johz Mamabolo, a lot of companies are side-lined because the directors are not friends with those in positions of authority and influence at the departments. “We want a fair process of awarding tenders, we all want to benefit. It is not nice to see certain business or individuals benefiting while others are left out. It is unfair for same businesses to benefit. We want all business in the province to share these tenders. We will continue fighting until everyone benefits equally,” Mamabolo said.
Coghsta Chief Information Officer Motupa Selomo reportedly said the department notes with regret the disruption of the briefing session by a small identifiable group of people on issues unrelated to the department. He further said the department remains committed to delivering quality houses for the poor and deserving people of the province and no amount of negative energy or threat will be allowed to stand in the way of government service delivery processes.
The forum highlighted that there won’t be a briefing session anymore to which the department responded by saying they were working on the new details for the briefing session and proper public announcement will be communicated accordingly.
Spokesperson for the Premier, Kenny Mathivha said all disgruntled businesspersons who are accusing the department of corruption should use the provincial government’s anti-corruption toll free number to report the issues. He further said they were aware of the situation regarding tenders and they had reported the matter to the Chief Tendering Officer at national Treasury to initiate investigations. Mathivha concluded by saying Mathabatha was taking the issues seriously and he would give a report in two months’ time.
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