Mabuza not involved in irregular procurement of vehicles while Premier of Mpumalanga, Public Protector finds

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Deputy President David Mabuza was not involved in the irregular procurement of four luxury vehicles worth R5m for his office when he was Mpumalanga premier, the Public Protector has found. 

In a report released on Friday, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said the purchase of a BMW X5, Audi A8, a Lexus and a Range Rover Vogue for Mabuza, was irregular.

It was, however, his Director-General at the time Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize, whom Mkhwebane has found to be culpable. 

Mkhwebane said the Office of the Premier was precluded from purchasing the BMW X5 in terms of the ministerial handbook as it was not an official vehicle of the premier, therefore violating the handbook.

Although the Audi A8 was purchased in line with the rules set out in the ministerial handbook, it was not done in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and its prescripts, Mkhwebane said.

READ: Premier Mabuza defends 3 cars

The Office of the Premier also failed to comply with Treasury regulations in the procurement of the Audi.

The Range Rover Vogue was purchased through a deviation of the normal procurement processes, also failing to record reasons for the deviation from inviting competitive bids.

In terms of her findings, Mkhwebane said Mkhize had committed financial misconduct in terms of the PFMA during the procurement of the vehicles as the expenditure amounted to an unauthorised and irregular expenditure.

The Public Protector also said no evidence could be produced to indicate that Mabuza was involved in the procurement process of the vehicles.

“The allegation that the former premier was involved in the procurement of his official vehicles is not substantiated, there was therefore no violation of the code by the former premier in the procurement of the vehicles in this matter,” Mkhwebane said.

Mkhwebane recommended the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, where Mkhize now works, should be informed about the outcome of the investigation and that appropriate action be taken.

She added the Mpumalanga Provincial Treasury should investigate Mkhize.

Nelson Mandela memorial service

Mkhwebane also released another report which addressed allegations that Office of the Premier in Mpumalanga irregularly appointed and made irregular payments for the Nelson Mandela memorial service in the province.

She found that the Office of the Premier irregularly appointed Carol Bouwer Productions to manage the memorial and that it was Mkhize who failed to report the deviation in the process of the appointment.

The allegation that over R70m was irregularly spent on the memorial service was also substantiated, Mkhwebane said.

“The Office of the Premier, did not have supply chain committees in place which resulted in the whole amount of R70 018 000.00 to be irregular expenditure,” she said.

She said Mkhize also contravened the PFMA as she failed to report or disclose that the amount spent was irregular expenditure.

Mkhwebane recommended that the Hawks investigate.

She called for disciplinary action to be taken against Mkhize and that the province investigate the total amount paid to service providers.

When she investigated, she could not find the total amounts paid as the records she was furnished with were not accurate, said Mkhwebane.

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