/ 16 July 2010

‘Tenders for pals’ in Limpopo

'tenders For Pals' In Limpopo

Two tenders awarded by the Limpopo health and welfare department were allegedly allocated to friends of provincial minister Miriam Segabutla this year.

The Mail & Guardian is in possession of documents showing that the tenders were awarded in January and, together, are worth R16-million.

A letter on the department’s letterhead and dated January 20 2010 awarded tender number HEDPQ 1764/10 to Trispen Solutions (Pty) Ltd for a forensic audit on health information systems for R7 511 285. The letter was signed by the acting head of department. On the same day the same official signed another letter, awarding tender number HEDPQ 1763/10 to Tshepo Technology Consulting for R8 857 800.

Trispen Solutions outsourced the forensic audit to Van der Merwe and Associates Incorporated — the legal firm that Segabutla uses in her private capacity. The M&G has a letter from this firm, signed by Pretoria lawyer Gert van der Merwe and dated April 30 this year, concerning Segabutla’s divorce from her husband.

The confidential information systems audit awarded by departmental tender was concluded in a report Van der Merwe signed on March 15 this year. His report states that the work was done for Trispen Solutions.

The winner of the second tender, Tshepo Technology Consulting, is owned by former Trispen director John Lucas, an M&G search of company records revealed. Lucas is a close friend of Segabutla’s family. Her daughter is a boarder at a Pretoria school, and the school’s record of those permitted to visit boarders lists Lucas as an “uncle”.

The department doesn’t know who the provincial minister’s friends and enemies [are], let alone who she interacts with socially and personally, a departmental spokesperson told the M&G.