TWO director generals were placed on suspension last week for refusing to sign contracts.
Mike Mlengana, director-general of the department of agriculture, forestry and fishing, believes he was suspended because he refused to sign a massive contract with The iFirm, a company owned by two former police generals, Mzandile Petros and Thulani Ntobela.
Petros is the former police commissioner of Gauteng and Ntobela the former police commissioner of Mpumalanga
The contract was reportedly put in front of him without the proper tender process for contracts in excess of R500 000 being followed.
Minister Senzeni Zokwana announced Mlengana’s suspension on Wednesday.
Mlengana said he and Zokwana had had a bad relationship for some time.
He said he knew he would be suspended when he refused to the minister’s decision to award the te
Mlengana said he felt uncomfortable when Zokwana asked him to sign the contract, as the minister insisted the proper tender procedure had been followed.
“I signed the contract, but did not initial it. I then referred it to our legal department for an opinion. There were many mistakes in the contract – I was referred to as a member of Parliament, while I am not an MP.
“The contract was for a three-year period, but there was no mention of the cost,” said Mlengana.
In response to questions, Zokwana’s spokesperson Bomikazi Molapo said the department would not comment until the investigation into Mlengana had been completed.
Meanwhile, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has suspended her director-general, Gorbachev Mashitisho, after barely six months on the job.
Mokonyane accuses Mashitisho of failing to appear before the water and sanitation portfolio committee in Parliament on June 7. failing to finalise the terms of reference regarding investigations into various tenders in the department; and failing to prepare for a meeting, last month, during which the department met Treasury to discuss its finances.
He is also accused of casting the minister’s integrity in poor light following his interaction with the water and sanitation portfolio committee and the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) committees in Parliament.
However, two senior executives in the department told City Press Mokonyane’s reasons for axing Mashitisho were a ruse.
The real reason, they said, was Mashitisho’s refusal to sign a letter authorising Werksmans Attorneys to start work at the department.
Mokonyane wants the law firm to be handpicked, without following the proper procurement process, to probe a number of contracts in the department.
Documents obtained by City Press reveal Mokonyane had wanted to deviate from an open public tender and directly appoint Werksmans.
The department’s legal unit cautioned against the direct appointment of the firm.