Tshwane mayor denies there’s any truth to ‘mystery R1 billion tender’ report

Tshwane mayor denies there’s any truth to ‘mystery R1 billion tender’ report

Stevens Mokgalapa, the new Tshwane mayor, in his office at Tshwane House, 18 February 2019, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The DA mayor in the capital city claims a Sunday Times report is riddled with inaccuracy.

Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa has nothing to do with awarding tenders, his office said after Sunday Times reported that he allegedly flouted the rules of the DA by not reporting a Huawei-sponsored trip to China as the city issued an “R1 billion ‘smart city’ tender”.

“My responsibilities are many, but none of them extends to the City’s tender specification process,” Mokgalapa said in a statement following the publication of the story.

“That remains the domain of Supply Chain Management and the bid adjudication committee.

An amount of R1b for a tender was also dismissed as “salacious”.

“It comes at R26 million, not the R350 million over three years as reported in the publication.

“It’s false that the sole provider with the capacity to render this expertise is Huawei. The alleged R1 billion does not exist.”

He said it is true that Tshwane is an “embattled municipality”.

“It’s no secret that I inherited an administration that was scandal-ridden by tender irregularities and administrative dilemmas.

“The Auditor-General reports on this in granular detail. However, purporting to build a narrative around me with my hand in the cookie jar is salacious and a deliberate attempt to mislead the public.”

The publication reported that Mokgalapa could be in hot water with his party for not getting the requested approvals from them for the trip.

DA Federal Executive leader James Selfe told the publication he knew nothing about the issuing of the contract.

He was aware Mokgalapa had gone to China at the company’s invitation, but the requested approvals had not been obtained before him leaving, Selfe said.

Mokgalapa would have to explain, he said.

Selfe reportedly said he would quiz Mokgalapa on the matter because mayors should not involve themselves in tender processes.

Huawei told the Sunday Times it had no business dealings with the City of Tshwane and the purpose of the trip was to show off its IT innovations – something not uncommon in the sector.

Huawei sales executive in South Africa Samuel Cheng invited Mokgalapa and the delegation reportedly included mayoral committee member for health Derrick Kissoonduth, his corporate and shared services counterpart Richard Moheta and head of the mayor’s private office Norman Mohale.

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