Former Free State human settlements MEC Mosebenzi Zwane has tacitly admitted to having not properly conducted his duties while in office and has shifted the blame to department officials, for the controversial R1 billion housing project, which failed to get off the ground.
Zwane, another key figure in corruption and other wrongdoings in the public sector, appeared before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry on Friday, 25 September 2020.
He’s been linked a housing scheme which saw hundreds millions of rands being forked out before any work was done, which commission chairperson Raymond Zondo, expressed concern about.
The commission heard how the project was set to be conducted through an open tender process, and a database for contractors had to be selected. According to Zwane, this was due to a number of factors, including a deadline.
“A tender process was opened and later abandoned because of the deadline and other things. Note that it was not caused by me,” Zwane said.
He said he was advised by senior staffers in his department that all was above board and that abandoning the process was legal. Zwane said his then HOD (head of department), Mpho Mokoena should be the one to take the fall.
“It is them (officials) that suggested that throughout the years the database has been used in the department by my predecessors and as a new newcomer, I agreed with that process for as long as it was going to help us move forward building houses,” Zwane said.
“It is his (HOD) duty to ensure that illegalities do not happen”
Zondo concerned that nobody has been charged
Reacting to the allegations, Zondo said it was concerning that law enforcement agencies had been slow to act, highlighting that 10 years later, there were still no arrests.
“Of course, it may be that, in this case, they have done their job to the best of their ability, given whatever resources they have.”It is concerning when the taxpayers have lost as much money as we are talking about here,” he said.
“… that is close to 10 years and no arrest, nobody charged, and yet the taxpayers, on your estimate at least, lost about R500 million if, more and 10 years later, there is nothing that the public knows, that the department knows, that gives confidence that something is being done [and] that the matter is being given the urgent attention it deserves.”
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