Durban – The Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia De Lille is embroiled in a fresh tender row that resulted in growing calls for her to be fired.
De Lille is now being accused by Mahalingum “Dhaya” Govender, a former deputy director-general for Real Estate Management Services (REMS) in the department of victimising him after he refused to carry out what he deemed to be illegal instructions.
The accusations are contained in an affidavit Govender sent to the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, asking her to probe De Lille.
Govender’s contract was terminated by De Lille in December last year and he is currently fighting to overturn the decision as he claims he carried out his duties with due dilligence.
De Lille is also involved in a fight with her suspended director-general, Advocate Sam Vukela and Govender is partly backing Vukela in the battle.
Govender said two contracts stand out to show De Lille abused her authority. One was for property leases and the other was for media monitoring.
“On 28 June 2019, the minister addressed a letter to me in which she instructed me to appoint a particular company specializing in global superior facility and property management for a period of 3 months.
“I was surprised by this unlawful instruction. The instruction was a clear interference by the Minister in the administration and supply chain management processes of the department,” Govender alleged.
“On 16 July 2019, the Minister wrote me another letter in which, she requested me to appoint Oryx Multi Media Company; on a three months basis with the start date of 1 August 2019 to amongst others undertake the daily monitoring of current affairs.
“The profile of Oryx Multi Media was attached to the letter from the Minister. This was yet another unlawful instruction of the Minister’s interference in the Supply Chain Management processes of the Department. I declined to appoint the company as instructed,” she alleged.
Govender further alleged that when he declined to carry out the instructions, De Lille got angry and started to victimise him.
The latest allegations against De Lille has prompted the DA to call on Ramaphosa to fire her.
DA MP Samantha Graham-Maré, the party spokesperson on public works, said De Lille can continue to dismiss these allegations as evidence of a plot by the DA to besmirch her character.
“These allegations are not being made by us. They are being made by senior officials in the Department she has been tasked to provide policy direction to. The allegations are significant,” Graham-Mare said.
In response, De Lille said she is just doing her work and dismissed the DA as a bitter party.
“It is a pity that people see intervention as interference because the looting is being disturbed. There is a difference between intervention and interference.
“I am not surprised by the fight back campaign against me because people are afraid that they will be confirmed as having looted the state’s coffers.
“Ministers are always told that the buck stops with us and we are questioned when we do not act. I have now acted as this is my duty and it is what the public expects from me.
“The buck stops with me and I want to be held accountable. The more the public holds me accountable, the harder I will work to clean up.
“I will stop at nothing. I am on a mission to clean up the Department,” De Lille responded on Sunday.