Judgement reserved in DA’s court action to halt multi-million Rand asbestos payments by Human Settlements

By Leona Kleynhans, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:

Today, Judge Corne van Zyl, in the Free State Division of the High Court, reserved judgement on the DA’s application seeking an interdict against the Free State Provincial Department of Human Settlements to halt any further payments to Blackhead Consulting (Pty)Ltd for the eradication of asbestos roofing in the province.

MEC Olly Mlamleli attended today’s court proceedings and Judge Van Zyl obtained an undertaking from MEC Mlamleli that no payments will be facilitated until she delivers her judgement later this week.

This court action comes after the DA instructed its legal counsel to proceed with an application under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA) (Act No 3 of 2000) to access all contractual documentation and any other relevant information pertaining to a contract between the Free State Provincial Department of Human Settlements and Blackhead Consulting (Pty)Ltd last week.

Our application for an urgent interdict came after the Head of Department for Human Settlements, Mr Nthimotse Mokhesi, failed to undertake in writing that he would immediately halt payments to Blackhead Consulting(Pty)Ltd as requested by the DA.

The DA has reason to believe that the contract awarded to Blackhead Consulting (Pty)Ltd is irregular.

It is alleged that almost R100 million has been made in payments to Blackhead Consulting (Pty)Ltd to date yet it remains unclear what actual goods or services have been delivered in the province towards the eradication of asbestos roofing.

The DA urges the department to make available all related documentation surrounding this contract to public scrutiny.

The DA in the Free State as the Official Opposition is constitutionally mandated to oversee the functioning of government and to hold the executive to account. We will forever endeavour to scrutinise government’s programmes to ensure that services are delivered and contracts are awarded above board. We will make use of all mechanisms available to us in the Legislature and through those independent bodies created by the Constitution and the courts to ensure that government always remains accountable to the people.