CentralSANtombela responds to tender influence accusations
─── LUCKY NKUYANE 08:24 Wed, 13 Oct 2021
The Premier of the Free State, Sisi Ntombela, has reacted to damning allegations made against her by the former head of the department (HOD) of Police, Roads, and Transport, that she tried to influence a tender process.
Ntombela's spokesperson, Sello Pietersen, says without trying to respond to allegations currently being ventilated in court, people should understand the powers and responsibilities of the premier as the political head in the province. He says the premier has a prerogative to appoint and re-point the executive council (Exco), including MECs. He says Ntombela fully understands the laws governing tender procurement. Petersen says Ntombela is well within her space and the only thing she can do is to inform an affected official about the changes affected during the reshuffle.
"She does not owe anybody any explanation, that you must, therefore, [give your] consent. It's there by law, it's her prerogative. This Includes HODs - they are also, as much as they are contracted for a certain period of time, appointed by the premier. It was the first time that an HOD has been taken from one department to the next. Based on the challenges of that time - and based on the strength and weaknesses of the HOD - we ensure that we respond to challenges in terms of service delivery at that point in the interest of our people," he adds.
OFM News previously reported that according to the EFF's provincial secretary, Bosanku Msimanga, the party has court documents detailing these allegations – including a WhatsApp text - allegedly from Ntombela to the former HOD Sipho Mtakati.
Msimanga said the text sent to Mtakati seems to instruct him to appoint a certain company and he further alleged that this puts the premier at the centre of corruption and is a breach of her oath of office.
Petersen says the integrity of the premier is under attack.
"The supply chain processes of government are legislated in terms of how they must be handled. For instance, you have three bid committees in every process that we are going to undertake, especially on big tenders. You will have a bid specification committee, which the HOD, or the premier for that matter, doesn't even attend. After that, you will have an evaluation committee, which are different people from the specification committee, which by the way does not even involve the HOD for that matter. And thirdly one would have an application which involves different people as well. So there is a clear separation of processes," Pietersen adds.
However, EFF's Bosanku said the party has since approached the Office of the Public Protector (PP) to have this alleged conduct by Ntombela investigated.