The KwaZulu-Natal IFP and a local branch of the SA Communist Party have called on senior officials in the provincial government to immediately investigate an office rental tender that was awarded to a company belonging to the daughter of ANC MPL Thulani Xulu

The IFP’s spokesperson for Public Works and Economic Development Tourism, and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) in the provincial legislature, Mbongeleni Mazibuko, called on Public Works MEC Peggy Nkonyeni to “suspend implicated official and institute an investigation into these serious allegations”.

Mazibuko said the KwaZulu-Natal ANC leadership should conduct its own investigation to establish if Xulu had anything to do with the tender, “especially in the light of the public letter that the ANC President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa recently directed at all ANC members to disassociate themselves from any form of corrupt activities”.

The call comes following an investigation by News24 revealing Upscale Properties, owned by Silindile Xulu, the daughter of Xulu, was registered just three weeks before the advertisement of the tender to provide office space to the department.

An intention to award the contract was published with Upscale, who bid R180 million, winning the lucrative tender over Rebosis Property Fund, a seasoned property group that bid R100 million less than Xulu. Public records also showed that Upscale did not own any property.

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Mazibuko said it was vital for the ANC to commit to eradicating any corruption.

“We hope that both the department and the ruling ANC will act swiftly and that they will not hesitate to deal decisively should anyone be found to be involved in this shameful act. They owe this to the ANC itself for they have a challenge to demonstrate their commitment to the call of the ANC president.”

‘Officials involved must be charged’

SACP Harry Gwala District secretary Luhle Ndlovu-Mbanjwa said they were “shattered that the department has processed an intention to award a company that does not meet requirements as per the specification”.

“The company registered three weeks prior to the tender advertisement. But even more devastated that government is prepared dish out tax payers’ monies unnecessarily to a company who bidded R104 million more than the lowest bidder, which does not only amount to fruitless and wasteful expenditure, but fraud and corruption as it is unjustified and inexcusable in the midst of an appalling state of poverty and unemployment in South Africa.”

They called on Premier Sihle Zikalala to halt all processes and institute a forensic investigation.

“[The investigation must include] declarations by the awarded company on any relations with any individuals in the state to be initiated.”

Ndlovu-Mbanjwa said that should there be findings of maladministration or corruption, the contract must be revoked.

“A criminal docket must be opened as supported by Act 12 of 2004 on the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities, officials involved must be charged, if any political interference is found it must be harshly dealt with accordingly.”

News24 previously contacted Xulu who, through his attorney, said he did not involve himself with his daughter’s business interests and dealings.

“I only became aware of the tender in question when I was contacted by the journalists.”

He said he would not comment on her business dealings. He said that a finance company linked to both him and his daughter had never operated.

Xulu directed News24 to lawyer Vasie Chetty for comment from his daughter. They are both yet to respond.