A reply received today in response to a DA Parliamentary question has revealed that contracts worth more than R100 million were awarded to Prasa employees and companies affiliated to them, when those employees were themselves in charge of awarding the contracts.
This is gross abuse of power, and as such, the DA will write to the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, to ask that disciplinary hearings be urgently instituted against all employees involved. It is shocking that the Minister himself conceded in the response that “certain [Prasa] employees were conflicted with regards to certain contracts”.
Not only did these employees benefit unfairly from these contracts, but it appears that they were also involved in the process of evaluating the awarding of bids – recommending and supporting the appointment of suppliers through confinement processes. Prasa’s executive manager, Nongabisaya Mareko, was also allegedly involved in the process of evaluating submissions for the development of the Women in Rail database.
Section 13 (c) of the Public Service Regulations of 2016 clearly states that “an employee shall not conduct business with any organ of state or be a director of a public or private company conducting business with an organ of state”. It is clear from the reply that some employees contravened this code and should thus be dismissed from the public service.
More than R100 million has been irregularly awarded as a result – these contracts should be immediately cancelled and all attempts must now be made to recover the money.
Public funds that could have been used to uplift millions of impoverished South Africans were shamelessly disbursed to public servants involved in the very tender process themselves. This is unacceptable and is a flagrant abuse of the public trust which is placed in employees of the State.
Today’s revelations are further evidence of why the DA’s request to the Transport Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Dikeledi Magadzi, to summon the Hawks to update Parliament on the status of Prasa investigations must be heeded.