National

DA calls on Madonsela to probe Magashule over website

Sapa

The Democratic Alliance has asked public protector Thuli Madonsela to probe alleged ethics violations by Free State Premier Ace Magashule.

The DA has called on the public protector to investigate the Free State government website. (Screengrab)

This was due to his office's relationship with a communications group in the province, Democratic Alliance provincial leader Patricia Kopane said on Monday.

Over the past three years Magashule and director general Elzabe Rockman allegedly awarded several lucrative government contracts to the Letlaka Group, headed by businessperson Tumi Ntsele.

Madonsela's spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi confirmed on Monday that her office had received the DA's complaint.

Kopane said Letlaka received R2.6-million for managing events around the premier's 2009 state-of-the-province address.

According to Kopane, other awarded contracts included:

  • A R4.17-million advertising contract to the Letlaka-run Weekly newspaper without going to tender;
  • Letlaka receiving R300 000 per month for printing and distributing government marketing materials, with all government advertising centralised within the premier's office in 2010;
  • The provincial government spending an estimated R1.6-million on advertisements in the Weekly over the past three months, with 88 adverts placed in 10 editions of the newspaper between November 30 and March 8;
  • R12-million a year spent on Letlaka-managed Hlasela TV, which broadcasts to 100 public buildings in the province; and
  • A multimillion-rand website tender awarded to a consortium which includes Letlaka, even though there were cheaper bidders.

The premier's office could not immediately be reached for comment.

R23.8-million budgeted
Last Tuesday, provincial government spokesperson Mondli Mvambi said 38 websites formed part of the Free State's multi-year integrated website project.

The project included websites for the 11 provincial departments, three provincial public entities and 24 municipalities.

Mvambi was reacting to reports the Free State government was paying R40-million for the development of a government website. He said the total project, for 38 websites, cost R24-million in the 2011/2012 financial year and R23.8-million in the 2012/13 financial year.

Since the start of the project in 2011, the Free State premier's department had financed about R14.8-million for the project. This formed part of the R23.8-million budgeted for in 2012/2013.

This spending had been audited by the auditor general, said Mvambi. – Sapa

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