Busted BY PAR­LIA­MENT

Le­gal opin­ion finds the sculp­ture out­side the Na­tional Assem­bly cost more than it should have

CityPress - - News - CAIPHUS KGOSANA caiphus.kgosana@city­press.co.za

Adamn­ing in­ter­nal le­gal opin­ion has found that Dali Tambo’s com­pany may have over­charged Par­lia­ment for the bust of Nel­son Man­dela that stands out­side the Na­tional Assem­bly.

The le­gal opin­ion also sug­gests that the spend­ing on the bust should be de­clared ir­reg­u­lar. But Par­lia­ment is dis­put­ing its own le­gal opin­ion and in­sists the money spent was nei­ther ir­reg­u­lar nor waste­ful.

Tambo yes­ter­day threat­ened to sue City Press if the pa­per pub­lished any­thing “un­true” about the ten­der, and in­sisted ev­ery­thing was above board. City Press is in pos­ses­sion of doc­u­ments that show Tambo’s com­pany, Koketso Growth, sub­mit­ted a “pre­lim­i­nary pro­posal and cost­ing” doc­u­ment to Par­lia­ment on Fe­bru­ary 13. In it, the com­pany es­ti­mates the cost of the bust at R1.8 mil­lion. But it adds a “man­age­ment and han­dling fee” of 20% and VAT at 14% – which to­gether in­crease the amount to R2.5 mil­lion.

But a prac­tis­ing sculp­tor told City Press af­ter re­view­ing the Madiba bust that a sculp­ture of that size and form should have cost between R750 000 and R1 mil­lion to make and in­stall.

Koketso Growth set a pay­ment sched­ule for Par­lia­ment – a 30% de­posit payable four days af­ter sub­mis­sion of the pro­posal, plus a 50% in­terim pay­ment due be­fore work be­gan.

A week later, Par­lia­ment’s deputy sec­re­tary Baby Tyawa sub­mit­ted a re­quest to for­mer Speaker Max Sisulu and for­mer na­tional coun­cil of prov­inces chair­per­son Mn­inwa Mahlangu to ap­prove the pay­ment. In the re­quest, Tyawa es­ti­mates the bust’s cost at R1.8 mil­lion. The pro­posal was also signed off by late par­lia­men­tary sec­re­tary Mike Coet­zee.

On March 14, Tyawa sub­mit­ted a fi­nal re­quest for au­tho­ri­sa­tion to Sisulu and Mahlangu, but the amount for the bust had shot up by R785 000 to R2.5 mil­lion. On the day au­tho­ri­sa­tion was granted, Par­lia­ment paid just more than R2 mil­lion to Koketso Growth.

Par­lia­ment then sought its own in­ter­nal le­gal opin­ion on the ex­pen­di­ture and its un­named le­gal ad­viser ques­tioned why the ini­tial ap­proval for funds was sought for R1.8 mil­lion when Koketso Growth pre­vi­ously in­di­cated the bust would cost R2.5 mil­lion.

This, ac­cord­ing to the le­gal ad­viser, meant Par­lia­ment did not pay a mar­ket-re­lated price for the sculp­ture. “Any amount paid that is more than the mar­ket-re­lated price may be con­sid­ered fruit­less and waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture,” reads the le­gal opin­ion.

The con­tract en­tered into with Tambo con­tra­vened Par­lia­ment’s own sup­ply chain man­age­ment pol­icy, the le­gal ad­viser wrote.

In its re­sponse this week, Par­lia­ment sup­plied City Press with a doc­u­ment Coet­zee wrote in May in which he dis­putes the in­ter­nal le­gal opin­ion and in­sists the money spent on the bust was not ir­reg­u­lar or waste­ful. Par­lia­ment spokesper­son Luzuko Ja­cobs said the ini­tial cost es­ti­mate of R1.8 mil­lion was based on a bust that would have been erected in­side the Par­lia­men­tary build­ing.

He said it was later de­cided to place the bust out­side, which af­fected the cost.

STAT­UESQUE The bust in ques­tion

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