South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI/Hawks) has launched an investigation into the construction of the so-called R15 million Lesseyton sports facility in the Enoch Mgijima Municipality in the Eastern Cape… which was exposed this week by former DA Leader Mmusi Maimane.
Maimane declared on Monday, when the stadium was launched: “The #TsotsiGame must end. It’s unbelievable that R15 million was allocated for this project and this is what was delivered. No man this is wrong.”
I have seen shrivelled carrots in better shape
Photos show the facility, to be nothing more than an open field with a few stadium seats and ablution facilities! (See tweet below.) “I have seen shrivelled carrots in better shape,” said Maimane.
The Municipality had announced on Monday: “The R15 million Lesseyton Sports field was officially opened today with scores of jubilant community members in attendance. Soccer and rugby teams will now be able to use the facility to improve sport in the area.”
Since Maimane’s post went viral on Twitter, the Daily Dispatch uncovered that Thalami Civils, the company that ‘built’ the stadium, had actually scored the lowest points in the tender process for the facility and was not the preferred bidder for the tender.
Sports stadium was a looting project
Maimane said: “It was very clear from day one that this ‘sports stadium’ was a looting project.”
The One South Africa for All founder said: “This sports field did not cost R15-million. That is the bottom line. The public deserves a full explanation.” (It allegedly cost even more than R15-million, a reported R22-million.)
In a statement today, the Hawks said the probe comes after a complaint was lodged against the municipality. The DA said in a media release on Friday that it has called on the Special Investigating Unit to launch an investigation into the tender of the stadium after “shocking reports relating to the contractor have come to light”.
Not only did Thalami Civils receive the lowest tender scores, but “the owner of the company, Luthando Jojwana, was arrested for stealing bricks in 2017,” said the DA. “Jojwana was arrested after stealing the bricks from a Mnquma local municipality site, which he then used to finish off a job building a taxi rank, supposedly worth R6 million.”
The Hawks said today that the matter is receiving the “necessary attention”.
“The probe is still in its infancy stages and as soon as all statements and necessary documents have been obtained and perused, the matter will be referred to the Director for Public Prosecutions for decision to prosecute,” said Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Nomthandazo Mbambo on Friday.
Cogta’s Porfolio Committee has also expressed concern over the discrepancy between the amount spent on the sports facility… and the facility that was unveiled on Monday. Chairperson Fikile Xasa revealed also that the municipality owed Eskom R400 million and the Auditor General R2.2 million, as at November 2020.
The DA’s Jane Cowley – Enoch Mgijima Constituency Leader – said despite the Municipal Public Accounts Committee labelling the contract as irregular and recommending disciplinary processes, the recommendation was ignored by the municipality.
Cowley said: “I conducted an oversight visit to the stadium with DA Federal Council Chairperson Helen Zille yesterday. What we saw was a pathetic excuse for a sports field, and it is no surprise that the local residents feel aggrieved.”
She added “heads must roll!”
Maimane said: “We must not forget – even for a day – the reality of what is happening in our municipalities. Funds meant to help the people are being looted. The #TsotsiGame has been going on for 27 years. We must stop it decisively on 1 November. It’s indefensible.”
The #TsotsiGame must end.
It’s unbelievable that R15 million was allocated for this project and this is what was delivered. No man this is wrong.
The people of Enoch Mgijima local municipality deserve better than this. The people of South Africa deserve better than this. pic.twitter.com/UlDG5JP1mh
— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) October 4, 2021
North West Province – In Debt and In Disarray
DON’T MISS CARTE BLANCHE THIS SUNDAY (OR FROM TUESDAY IF YOU’RE ABROAD):
CARTE BLANCHE SAYS “It’s that time again: South Africa’s political parties are rolling up their sleeves and hitting the campaign trail as they try to win your votes in the local government elections. But in the North West, many potential voters are disillusioned and angry as the infrastructure in almost every town buckles from neglect, and service delivery is often non-existent. This Sunday, Masa Kekana will be crossing live from Rustenburg as we take you inside some of the province’s worst-performing municipalities.” (Producer: Siniketiwe Hlanze | Presenter: Masa Kekana)
Maimane also posted this tweet, revealing more ‘arrogance’ in the Eastern Cape:
The sheer arrogance, the level of disrespect to the voters. https://t.co/QgXxKZVdxr
— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) October 5, 2021