By Bongani Tshabalala
BLOEMFONTEIN – The Free State Department of Education and the Presidency have refuted claims made in local publication Star Newspaper that the department awarded a tender to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s former company Shanduka Foundation to build schools.
According to the publication, procurement procedures which include advertising and bidding were not followed.
Rebuffing this report, Free State Education spokesperson Howard Ndaba has described the report as ‘unfounded and misleading’.
“The allegations that are put out there are not true. Number 1, Shanduka Foundation has never received any tender from the department of education; in any case, all tenders that are construction related which are above R10-million, are allocated by the public works department. Even if we wanted to, we would not have provided that.”
Ndaba went on to rubbish claims that FS Education MEC Dr Tate Makgoe was part of the Shanduka board of directors.
“That is not true; he has never been part of Shanduka’s board because Shanduka has got its own board and we have Kagiso Trust which also has its own board. So, there was no way MEC Tate Makgoe could have been part of that board,” he told Newzroom Africa TV channel on Tuesday.
Explaining the partnership between the Free State department of education and Shanduka Foundation, Ndaba said Kagiso Trust and Shanduka form formed one entity and approached the department with a proposal in 2013, offering to assist the department.
“They approached us with a proposal to say ‘we want to assist, improve your education and to support the schools’. We then came together and said Kagiso Trust – which is an NGO – and Shanduka Foundation will come up with R100-million each, and then we come with R200 million to match their over,” Howard explained.
Meanwhile, the Presidency has also rebutted the Star Newspapers report.
“Neither President Ramaphosa nor any companies in which he held interests has ever received any benefit from school construction in the Free State or anywhere else in the country. On the contrary, both President Ramaphosa and Shanduka have made substantial financial contributions towards the construction and development of schools.
“President Ramaphosa was neither a director nor a shareholder in the Shanduka Group in 2015, at the time he is alleged to have ‘persuaded’ the provincial department to award the non-existent contract since he left business in November 2014.