COMMUNICATIONS and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has still not come forward with the truth that she promised to share in relation to her involvement in a R2.1 billion tender scandal.
The Star on Friday reported that Ndabeni-Abrahams had been accused of flouting procurement processes by a senior official at the SA Post Office (SAPO) after she had introduced businessman and chairperson of private equity firm Convergence Partners, Andile Ngcaba, to the SAPO executives in an alleged bid to partner on a highly lucrative R2.1billion e-commerce platform.
Ndabeni-Abrahams took to her Facebook page and posted a picture of The Star’s lead story, titled “Ndabeni-Abrahams breaks the law, again” and captioned it: “The desperation continues. Stay tuned for the truth. Times will be shared in the morning.”
Despite her promise to share the times for when she would share her “truth”.
Ndabeni-Abrahams is not new to controversy as she earlier this year broke lockdown level 5 regulations by visiting the home of former Higher Education Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana for Sunday lunch where she was pictured enjoying lunch with Manana’s family.
On 8 April President Cyril Ramaphosa placed her on two months suspension, with one month unpaid, for the violation of strict lockdown regulations. She returned to her post in June.
Democratic Alliance spokesperson on Communications Phumzile van Damme said that Ndabeni-Abrahams must step aside to allow investigations against her to be investigated without impediment.
“The latest allegation is that in July 2020, Ndabeni-Abrahams flouted procurement processes at the South Africa Post Office (SAPO) by introducing a businessman and chairperson of private equity firm, Convergence Partners, Andile Ngcaba, to SAPO’s executives in an alleged bid to partner on a highly lucrative R2.1 billion e-commerce platform.
“The DA has it on good authority that this is a practice Ndabeni-Abrahams regularly engages in – facilitating “meetings” to influence outcomes in the awarding of tenders. This is said to occur not only in her department but many others,” said Van Damme.
She added that although Ndabeni-Abrahams had made herself available to the ANC’s Integrity Commission” that is neither here or there”.
Van Damme said that the allegations related to infringement in her capacity as a Minister, an elected public representative not only as an ANC member.
“The ANC is well within its rights to investigate the Minister’s conduct, but one conducted by a public law enforcement agency is required. And it is practice that the individual implicated steps aside or is suspended. This is a precedent set by President Cyril Ramaphosa himself when his Spokesperson Khusela Diko took a leave of absence following a Covid-19 tender scandal.
“It is still our firm belief that Ndabeni-Abrahams is not fit for the office she holds and ought to be fired. We await the rumoured impending Cabinet reshuffle and trust that she will be shuffled straight out of the door,” said Van Damme.
Meanwhile, the South African Post Office disputed allegations made in the Star’s article.
In a statement issued on Friday, the SAPO said they would be investigating the source who shared ‘malicious info’ to the media.
“The SA Post Office can categorically state that at no stage did the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies interfere in the procurement processes of the SA Post Office in any way. The Post Office is investigating the source of the malicious information fed to the media, which appears to be a disgruntled senior official. It should also be noted that at no time did the author of the article approach the SA Post Office for confirmation of the unfounded allegations made in the article,” the statement read.