Zwane must account for alleged involvement in defrauding Free State: Analyst

Former Free State Human Settlements MEC Mosebenzi Zwane.

Political analyst Ongama Mtimka says former Free State Human Settlements MEC Mosebenzi Zwane must account for his alleged involvement in defrauding the provincial government through irregularly awarded tenders.

On Monday, Zwane told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Johannesburg that he simply wanted to fast track the delivery of low-cost housing for the 2010 financial year.

Zwane denied giving an instruction that material suppliers be paid in advance. He said he merely tasked officials with researching the legalities of an advanced payment scheme.

Zwane said he believed all contractors had been vetted when he approved a consolidated database after the department’s open tender system was discontinued.

He added that the database was compiled by the province’s Bid Evaluation Committee, Bid Adjudication Committee, and then-accounting officer, Mpho Mokoena.

“I went through the criteria list we had been given by EXCO, whether there were young contractors, the disabled and women and I approved because I had given this task to competent officials who had been doing this work, some for over 15 years when I was not even there and at that particular time there had never been a dispute about their work. So, I did not go through those details because I was not even favoured by the detailed work that they do behind closed doors.”

This is in contradiction with earlier testimony from departmental officials.

Mtimka says it’s clear that legality and compliance were not factors when Zwane made decisions.

“You cannot then expect from people who don’t respect the law or legal procedures in their decision-making and expect that in answering about those decisions, they are going to show some degree of appreciation of the centrality of legality and procedure in their decision-making.”