ANC PEC Officials Statement on Tender Manipulation Allegations

Issued by the Office of the ANC EC Provincial Secretary

20 July 2015

The African National Congress (ANC) Provincial Officials in Eastern Cape met on 20th July 2015 at the ANC Provincial Office, James Calata House in King Williams Town. The meeting amongst other items discussed the damaging allegations made by the Daily Dispatch in an article of 18th July 2015 entitled `Give it to my boys’ against the ANC Provincial Secretary, Cde Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane.

The article regrettably insinuates that our Provincial Secretary, Cde Mabuyane politically interferes in the awarding of government contracts. It is our firm view that both the article and the audio recording does not make any mention of Cde Mabuyane, but the newspaper deems it fit and proper to conclude that the SG (Secretary General) or “Nobhala” referred to in the recordings is Cde Mabuyane. There is no credible evidence from the Daily Dispatch that links Cde Mabuyane directly to the matter except a hearsay conversation between two senior government officials,  hence we find the article to be highly defamatory.

Section 4.7 of the Press Code says: “The press shall exercise care and consideration in matters involving dignity and reputation. The dignity or reputation of an individual should be overridden only by a legitimate public interest and in the following circumstances:

4.7.1: The facts reported are true or substantially true; or

4.7.2: The article amounts to fair comment based on facts that are adequately referred to and that are true or substantially true; or

4.7.3: The report amounts to a fair and accurate report of court proceedings, Parliamentary proceedings or the proceedings of any quasi-judicial tribunal or forum; or

4.7.4: It was reasonable for the article to be published because it was prepared in accordance with acceptable principles of journalistic conduct and in the public interest.”

It is our considered view that the Daily Dispatch totally disregarded the above cited prescripts of the press code and as such failed to exercise the necessary care regarding Mr Mabuyane’s reputation and by extension that of the ANC. We wish to put it on record that these allegations are a pure fabrication anchored on blatant lies and name-dropping. This unethical gossip mongering represents what we have always said about the irresponsible conduct of the “newspaper sales and headline chasing” journalists. The article by the Daily Dispatch has many factual inaccuracies, which are misleading to their readership and the society at large and in this statement we wish to clarify these.

The deliberate inaccuracies and lies are premised on a false notion that there exists a “1 Billion rand school nutrition tender”. In the current model the school nutrition programme is run directly by schools and managed fully by School Governing Bodies in each school and as such there was no such tender to influence in the first place. Perhaps even more disheartening and worrying is the fact that the Daily Dispatch was furnished with these real facts before the printing of the story.

The ANC as a governing party is responsible for providing strategic policy guidance to the government on the basis of its election manifesto and its adopted policies. In this regard we can confirm that the ANC PEC is engaged on a discussion to review the current school nutrition model. This discussion of reviewing the model was sparked by a delegation of SMMEs (Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises) that engaged the ANC on the weaknesses of the current model particularly its failure in creating jobs and promoting local community enterprises. The ANC was quite persuaded by the possibilities of enhancing local economic participation (i.e. local community gardens, cooperatives and SMMEs) and thus agreed to relook the current school nutrition delivery model.

The ANC has since taken up the discussion and asked the MEC of Education to evaluate the current model and do a feasibility assessment of the model as proposed by the delegation of SMMEs. This is the instruction that the ANC has officially given to the MEC of the Department of Education and the ANC Provincial Secretary was thus in this instance acting officially on behalf of the ANC.  This is not a new thing as the ANC has previously asked Government to change the Fleet Management Model of the Provincial Government fleet and more recently asked the Provincial Government to review the Scholar Transport delivery model.

The ANC as a governing party will always exercise its responsibility to provide strategic policy guidance to its Government, but we understand clearly that Government is responsible for  the actual implementation of the policies.  As such we want to state it on record, as the ANC PEC we have never used our position to influence any awarding of tenders and in this case we are confident that our Provincial Secretary has never used his office to influence the awarding of tenders. We therefore call all those with evidence on the matter to report to authorities or law-enforcement agencies to investigate the matter or otherwise an apology must be made publicly.

The ANC is disappointed with the poor conduct demonstrated by senior government officials that are implicated in this matter. We call on government to investigate and correct what appears to be a normalised situation of being comfortable with interference in doing their work. In this regard, we demand that the credibility and integrity of the state must never be compromised. As the ANC we remain committed to the principle of clean governance with no undue political influence. We remain committed that employment and tenders should be on the basis of merit rather than proximity to leadership.

Lastly newspapers have an immense responsibility to report accurately, truthfully and fairly, and to provide reasonable proof of allegations of any impropriety. As such as the ANC we will consult the Press Ombudsman to make a judgement on the journalistic practices and integrity of this article by the Dispatch.

The Statement must be attributed to the ANC EC Provincial Spokes Person, Cde Mlibo Qhoboshiyane.

Enquiries Contact: Mlibo Qhoboshiyane ANC EC Spokesperson

082 5599 008

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