South Africa’s National Treasury and the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) today presented “damning findings” before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure which, according to the Democratic Alliance (DA), suggests that Minister Patricia De Lille was much more involved in the procurement of the Beitbridge “Washing Line” than she has previously admitted.
These findings not only implicate the Minister but also gives President Cyril Ramaphosa enough evidence to fire her, the DA claims. Samantha Graham-Maré – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure – said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon that Treasury has today confirmed what the DA has always known: “Minister de Lille has a fanciful relationship with tender rules”.
Treasury has found that while “[it] is not clear which contract the Minister instructed to be varied […] it would seem the Minister had a contract, supplier or contractor in mind”. Treasury went on to state that “[in] terms of separation of powers, the Executive Authority, must not interfere in administrative functions”.
Graham-Maré says this confirms information in the DA’s possession regarding the Minister’s instruction for a variation order for the appointment of a contractor.
This variation order was seemingly pursued to ensure that the specific contractor, Magwa Construction was appointed. While this process was later aborted, the contractor was still appointed via an accelerated procurement process.
“Given this evidence, as well as the information that I have, that Minister De Lille’s advisors, Mcendisi Mtshali and Melissa Whitehead, were part of a meeting with various role players to discuss the procurement process – it is hard to believe that she had no role to play in this debacle,” says Graham-Maré.
The DA believes that Treasury’s findings implicate Minister De Lille to the extent that she “unduly interfered in the procurement process for the fence and that this makes her complicit in the corruption that took place. President Ramaphosa should do the right thing and fire Minister De Lille.”
There is no statement from De Lille on her Facebook or Twitter feeds.