There is a ‘jobs and tender for pals scandal’ in the City of Joburg’s finance department, according to a report published by The Star today. Allegations have emerged that the member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for finance was “enriching his friend” by facilitating access to lucrative tenders.
Seth Mukwevho, the city’s head of treasury, allegedly “irregularly” received a two-month contract of more than R190 000. It is reported that this was influenced by his long-standing relationship with MMC Rabelani Dagada.
The claims is reportedly based on a service-level agreement between the city and Radongo Consulting, a company in which Mukwevho held a directorship until recently. The service-level agreement is understood to state that Radongo was selected as a service provider because of its “extensive experience in IT-related services”.
Dagada acknowledged that his relationship with Mukwevho dated back to when they were postgraduate students at University of the Witwatersrand in the early 2000s. He apparently admitted they participated in joint ventures subsequent to their student days, including co-authoring a book in 2011.
Dagada is reported as having said he requested former group chief finance officer (CFO) Reggie Boqo to provide the “macroeconomic and statistical details” about Joburg, which Boqo put out to tender.
“Mr Mukwevho informed me that he saw the (tender) advert and that he would submit a proposal. I felt a bit uncomfortable and tried to discourage him, but to no avail. At the same time, I thought it would be proper for me to respect his constitutional right to earn a living,” Dagada told The Star.
Thembisa Peele, head of supply-chain management, is quoted as having said National Treasury regulations don’t allow Dagada, a politician, to get involved in procurement processes. “Similarly, in this transaction, he would not be required to acknowledge any possible conflict of interest,” she reportedly said.
Peele, on being asked why Radongo was appointed despite an apparent lack of experience, is quoted as having said: “In terms of the responses received, there were two (bidders), where one omitted to reflect price, and we were left with one response that met the specifications of the bid specification committee, which included the end-user department (of finance).”
“[He] neither observed a probation period, nor was he interviewed for his post”
The Star further reports that after the two-month contract ended at the end of June, Mukwevho was appointed as a director in the finance department, allegedly also due to Dagada’s influence. He is said to have been promoted to the City’s group head of treasury, less than three months after joining Joburg as a public official.
A source close to the proceedings is reported as having claimed that Mukwevho “neither observed a probation period, nor was he interviewed for his current post”. When approached, Dagada reportedly maintained that he discouraged Mukwevho from taking on a job with the city, saying he “knew that if he (Mukwevho) gets appointed, some mud will be thrown (at) me”.
When contacted for comment, Herman Mashaba’s mayoral spokesperson, Luyanda Mfeka, wrote: “The allegations which have been raised are viewed in a serious light by the administration. This administration prides itself on tackling corruption without fear or favour.
“Our position on corruption is clear, and the mayor has not shied away from removing officials or politicians from service were wrong doing is proven. The matter in question has been referred to our independent Forensic Investigation Services Department, who continue to perform admirably in uncovering corruption.
“In this instance, should wrongdoing be determined by the investigation, appropriate action will be taken and communicated to residents,” Mfeka concluded.
Additional reporting by Gosebo Mathope