Lesufi claims 'secret tender meeting' recording was fixed amid calls for his head

“I am fully aware that there are forces at play who want to assassinate my character for political expediency,” claims Panyaza Lesufi

04 April 2021 - 16:47 By nonkululeko njilo
Allegations of tender corruption have been levelled against Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi after a recording of a "secret meeting" in which he allegedly insinuated he could bend rules on tender processes.
Allegations of tender corruption have been levelled against Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi after a recording of a "secret meeting" in which he allegedly insinuated he could bend rules on tender processes.   
Image: Vathiswa Ruselo/Sowetan

 

Allegations of tender corruption have been levelled against Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi after a recording of a “secret meeting” in which he allegedly insinuated he could bend rules on tender processes.   

City Press reported it was in possession of a recording in which Lesufi is alleged to have told a group of people that he wanted to ensure that people were satisfied at all costs. He told them that if they wanted to be awarded tenders, they needed to talk to him and then apply via the correct channels for record purposes, but he would not assist “traitors”.

However, in a statement on Sunday,  Lesufi claimed that the recording had been tampered with and the allegations were an attempt to destroy his character.

“It is unfortunate that the recording that is circulated was seriously manipulated and tampered with as it deliberately excludes the beginning of the said meeting where the purpose of the session was explained in detail. The manipulated voice clip only contains areas where the MEC was responding to questions that were raised by members of the community.  

“I am fully aware that there are forces at play who want to assassinate my character for political expediency. Unfortunately, in a democratic society the accuser doesn’t have to prove their allegations but the accused must prove their innocence,” he said.

Lesufi's department is embroiled in a controversy over an alleged R431m dodgy schools sanitation tender.

Explaining the details of the alleged secret tender meeting, Lesufi refuted it was held privately as it was attended by various stakeholders including members of the community. It took place in May 2020, at Soshanguve after one school went months without electricity.    

He said the purpose was also to explain how contracts were advertised and adjudicated.

After the meeting, Lesufi said he instructed his department to respond to and assess the infrastructure and electricity complaints on behalf of the school.  

“Consequently, a service provider that is on the GDE panel of contractors, was appointed to perform the electrical and other work at the school and that work was successfully completed,” he said.

“The allegation that this was a secret meeting is baseless and unfounded.”

The EFF has since called for Lesufi's head.  

“He is corrupt to the core,” the EFF said.

“Lesufi thrives on pretending to work for the public relations purposes, while lining his pockets and allowing private institutions in the sector to be a law upon themselves.

“We therefore call for the immediate removal of Lesufi, an MEC brazenly plotting patronage and the robbery of the basic education sector in Gauteng, in the time of global economic crisis. Lesufi's nefarious scheme of self-enrichment is a sabotage of education and the future of children and is tantamount to treason,” the EFF said.

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