Something rotten in Gauteng housing, says DA

Something is rotten in the Gauteng department of housing, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Thursday following the revelation of R100-million in tender irregularities in the department.

The Star revealed on Thursday the contents of a report by the forensic unit of the Gauteng Shared Services Centre detailing allegations of tender irregularities committed by two department of housing officials.

The newspaper said an approved five-year tender with a company called Enterprise Connection illegally increased from R44-million to R75-million in exchange for the company providing infrastructure for the department’s new offices.

Eugene Perumal, former chief director of the department, signed contracts on behalf of the department without proper authorisation and through flouting proper tender procedure.

Sibusiso Buthelezi, head of the department during the period in question, June 2004 to May 2005, signed the tender agreement despite it amounting to R75-million as opposed to the agreed R44-million, said the Star.

DA spokesperson on finance Hermene Koorts said in a statement on Thursday that not enough had been done by the department to “stop the rot”.

“The fact that the housing department is still doing business with Perumal seems to us to give rise to a large number of questions. In a story in the Star this morning [Thursday], Perumal denies still working for the department.
This is incorrect,” he said.

Koorts also slammed the Gauteng Shared Services Centre, specifically the Gauteng Audit Services, for operating in secret and protecting certain people.

“This organisation needs to be efficient and above reproach. Too many public servants in this province operate with impunity, they misspend public money and never take the consequences; indeed their misdeeds are covered up,” he said.

The Gauteng department of housing failed to respond immediately to queries on Thursday.

Spokesperson Mongezi Mnyani, quoted in the Star, said a civil claim was being instituted against Perumal for his alleged improper conduct.—Sapa

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