Johannesburg - The Limpopo Roads and Transport Department has awarded a R12 million contract to a company whose director is married to a top departmental official.
But all parties are professing their innocence in the corruption-riddled province.
On Friday, The Star can reveal that when Sherly Shitlhangu bid for the contract in 2010, she did not declare that her husband Paul worked as a project manager in the same department.
The department said at the time it awarded the contract to Shitlhangu, it was not aware of her marriage with Paul, the department official.
Shitlhangu’s husband previously sat on the bid adjudication committee on different bids, but she did not disclose this information.
The company bid for the contract in a joint venture with Soma Construction, owned by Jefrey Maleto.
The Star understands that the awarding of this and several other contracts in the departments are the subject of a multi-pronged agency involving the Public Protector, the Hawks and the Special Investigating Unit.
On Thursday, Sherly claimed she had not been aware that it was mandatory to fill out the declaration of interests form. “I was not even sure that we [would] win that tender.” Sherly said the bid documents were compiled by her business partner, Maleto.
Both denied Shitlhangu’s husband had a role in the preparation of the bid documents.
Maleto also pleaded ignorance of the declaration form. “It was just an oversight on our part,” he said.
Sherly’s husband first denied he worked as a project manager for the department, but later admitted to it when The Star indicated that this was on his profile on a social media network. “I am the project manager, but not for that project,” he conceded.
He admitted that he had previously formed part of the department’s bid adjudication committee, but said he had not been involved with his wife’s contract. “I only became aware of the contract after it had been awarded,” he said.
Department spokesman Joshua Kwapa said they had launched a separate investigation into the matter.
The department hogged newspaper headlines for the controversial awarding of a multimillion-rand contract to On-Point Engineers, a company partly owned by expelled ANCYL leader Julius Malema.
This week, the prosecution in the Polokwane Regional Court case involving the rejected leader has charged that On-Point had “misrepresented facts” to win its lucrative contract.
The company’s CEO, Lesiba Gwangwa, and four others, Makgetsi Manthata, Selby Manthata, Helen Moreroa and Kagisho Dichabe, were charged with fraud and corruption.
They walked out of court after paying R40 000 bail each, while Malema was released on R10 000 bail because he is facing money-laundering charges.