Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader

The Gauteng Health and Social Development Department signed a R16.1 million rental contract with Manaka Property Investments (MPI) without going out to tender.

This is revealed in a written reply by MEC Ntombe Mekgwe to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

This is very disturbing as Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale is a shareholder and former director of Manaka, while Thaba Mufamadi, the chairman of the parliamentary finance committee, is still a director of this company.

According to Mekgwe, R4.9 million has been paid to Manaka for leasing of office space in the ABSA Building for the Tshwane-Metsweding District Offices from 1 June 2010 to 31 May 2011. A further two year lease from 1 June 2011 to 31 May 2013 costs R11.2 million.

No advertisements were placed for this tender as Manaka is a “preferred service provider” and “the Karel Schoeman Building which accommodated staff at 179A Skinner Street in Pretoria was declared unsuitable for human occupation by the Department of Labour, and they were forced by the latter to evacuate it with immediate effect”.

The present rental rate is R468 420 per month, which the Department says is “competitive and good value”

Manaka has contracts with other government departments as well, including Statistics SA and the departments of water affairs foreign affairs, also reportedly without correct tender procedures being followed.

There is a clear conflict of interest when senior politicians benefit from large government contracts.

It is unclear why Manaka is a “preferred service provider” and it is suspicious that normal tender procedures were waived in this case, particularly the signing of the present two year lease when no urgency could be argued.

There needs to be an investigation into whether there was undue favouritism in awarding this tender.

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