/ 2 March 2009

Cosatu calls for inquiry into R70bn social grants tender

South Africa’s largest trade union federation has called for an official inquiry into allegations of impropriety involving a multibillion-rand social grants tender.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says it is concerned about a City Press report at the weekend, alleging a government tender was withdrawn because the newspaper had exposed links between the bidders and Thuthukile Skweyiya, the wife of Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya.

The tender is for the disbursement of R70-billion in social grants.

”The tender was withdrawn allegedly because of the involvement of Thuthukile Skweyiya … with one of the two bidders,” Cosatu said in a statement on Monday.

It noted that the minister’s spokesperson, Zanele Mngadi, had denied the tender’s withdrawal had anything to do with a relationship involving the minister’s wife, but said it wanted the matter investigated.

Mngadi confirmed at the weekend that the tender had been discontinued, but claimed this had to do with bungling. She said it was canned because it was botched by those who adjudicated it.

”Cosatu calls for a full official inquiry into the allegations, so that the truth can be established”, it said.

The Social Development Ministry was not immediately available for comment. — Sapa