Son’s PPE deal dogs ANC whip
Thermometers for ANC offices supplied by senior MP’s child
● ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina, one of the party’s most senior deployees in parliament, is embroiled in a scandal over an alleged conflict of financial interest after it emerged that the parliamentary caucus she manages awarded a deal for personal protective equipment (PPE) to her son.
The Sunday Times has established that a company in which Majodina’s son, Mkhonto weSizwe, is a sole director supplied 150 thermometers valued at R350 each to be used in the party’s constituency offices across SA.
Mkhonto weSizwe Majodina is the sole director of King Mzimshe Trading, a company registered in Bhisho, in the Eastern Cape.
The company invoiced the “ANC national caucus” for R52,500 on January 15 for supplying the instruments to measure body temperature.
Speaking through her spokesperson, Nomfanelo Kota, Majodina defended the transaction, saying the caucus did not have to go to open tender as the amount was less than R100,000. This is in terms of the ANC parliamentary caucus’s financial policy, she said. However, two insiders said this was a lie, the caucus had previously sought three quotations when procuring goods or services way below R100,000.
Kota, avoiding questions on the conflict of interest, said the transaction with her boss’s son was consistent with the financial policies of the caucus.
Kota said it was also an emergency procurement during alert level 3: “As we were dealing with second wave, it was necessary to [seek] quick solutions to safeguard the life of constituency staff and the public in our parliamentary constituency offices.”
Majodina, asked whether she had declared that her son heads the company that supplied the PPE, referred the Sunday Times to the register of MPs’ interests, saying, “declaration forms of MP interests are filed with parliament”.
The process was of awarding work to Mkhonto wesizwe was led by the caucus’s head of finance, Fundiswa Citwa, said Kota.
She confirmed that the thermometers were distributed to the party’s parliamentary constituency offices.
Approached for comment, Mkhonto weSizwe said: “Primarily I am a young, budding entrepreneur who has registered his company since 2017 and have been operating since then.
“Most of the business transactions I have entered into were not backed by my mother.”
He said he “perceived no conflict of interest in this matter”. He denied that he received any undue benefit, saying he provided a service and quoted within the required specification and timeframe and delivered the goods at market-related prices.
“I was requested to provide emergency procurement for supply in the heat of the Covid-19 pandemic within a stipulated timeframe and I delivered per specification and submitted my invoice,” he said.
ANC insiders said procurement for constituency offices is done by the national caucus.
This time last year constituency office staff in Cape Town were told to collect PPE items from parliament — three big boxes with sanitiser and two small boxes of masks, said one insider.
It is not clear who supplied the ANC caucus on that occasion.
Then in January this year, constituency offices each received R1,000 to purchase sanitiser and masks, but thermometers were supplied.
“We were told to apply for petty cash but the petty cash would be strictly used for PPE. We bought sanitiser and masks,” said an insider from a constituency office in the Cape Town metro, who asked not to be named.
The source said they were told to collect thermometers from the ANC offices in parliament.
“There was a Zoom meeting addressed by the chief whip and provincial co-ordinators for all constituency offices, where they were saying what system each province would follow, and that there would be petty cash to buy PPE,” said the source.
Political parties represented in parliament are allocated constituency allowances administered by the legislature to allow them to set up and run public consultation offices across the country.
The ANC’s portion of that allowance amounted to R68m in 2019.
Constituency funds are meant to fund ongoing interface between parliamentarians and their constituents, consistent with the constitutional obligations of accountability, public participation and involvement.