Julius Malema is doling out state tenders to his pals through a company that is part-owned by his family trust.
The Ratanang Family Trust, founded by Malema, the ANC Youth League leader, holds shares in On-Point Engineering, which administers a large part of the multibillion-rand budget of Limpopo’s roads and transport department.
This means that Malema has at least indirect influence over who is awarded tenders from a three-year budget allocation of reportedly R4.6-billion — although he, On-Point and the department deny it.
In 2009, the department set up a programme management unit (PMU) to take over many of the department’s functions in planning, contracting for and overseeing road works.
In a twist at odds with Malema’s stance on nationalisation, it outsourced the running of the unit to On-Point for three years at a fee of R52-million.
Since then, companies linked to Malema, his business partner in On-Point, Lesiba Gwangwa, and his friend and political ally, Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale, have shared in some of the contracts administered by the unit.
While there is no evidence of bribery, these revelations come in the wake of City Press allegations about a businessman who allegedly paid a tender kickback into the Ratanang Family Trust. Malema has flatly denied taking kickbacks.
Anatomy of a scam?
On-Point, which is headed by Gwangwa, is a sister company of SGL, which started out as Segwalo Consulting Engineers in 2002. Segwalo Consulting, SGL and On-Point overlap — they have used the same address and telephone numbers in Polokwane, and Gwangwa has been a director or member of each of the entities over the years.
Malema was a director of SGL in 2009 and 2010, but resigned around the time the public protector investigated the company to see if he had unduly influenced the many tenders awarded to it.