The process used to appoint a contractor to undertake mammoth upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla homestead was not fair‚ not transparent‚ not equitable and not cost effective‚ the Special Investigating Unit said on Wednesday.
Investigator Christian Legwabe made this revelation during the ongoing department of public works disciplinary hearings‚ currently taking place in Durban. He claimed that the department paid almost double on at least one of the elements of the upgrade because of wrongdoing in the contract award.
Legwabe was speaking during the disciplinary proceedings of Jayshree Pardesi‚ the Pretoria-based national director of key accounts management. She is one of 10 public works officials who are accused of flouting tender processes that led to controversial architect Minenhle Makhanya being appointed to lead the Nkandla upgrades project.
According to testimony led on Wednesday‚ Pardesi was on a public works panel that appointed Moneymine as one of the contractors on the R246-million project. Legwabe said that the committee members employed a negotiated strategy to procure Moneymine‚ rather than follow regular tender processes.
Legwabe said Pardesi was within her rights as a member of the adjudicating committee to refuse to sign off on the appointment of Moneymine.
“The negotiated strategy was not fair‚ transparent‚ equitable and not‚ to a larger extent‚ fair. And as a result‚ the department incurred irregular expenditure‚” said Legwabe.
He claimed the R6.1-million awarded to Moneymine was double the R3-million that the department should have paid.
Legwabe was also adamant that there was no emergency or urgency that would necessitate a breach of tender processes – especially with the president already living in Nkandla and having other homes in Durban and Pretoria.
Moneymine undertook to build phase 1 of the controversial upgrade‚ which included the main house‚ surrounding rondavels‚ a bunker and security fence.
Pardesi was among those who approved the award to Moneymine on June 15‚ 2010. She made her first appearance before a disciplinary panel in October 2014 before the hearings were put on ice.
While Legwabe was testifying‚ led by public works department lawyer Clement Kulati‚ Pardesi and her lawyer‚ Adrian Moodley‚ sat quietly. The hearing continues.
Source: Tiso Black Star Group.