Nkandla disciplinary hearings to resume…allegedly
Nathi Olifant | 2017-05-31 18:42:54.0
A view of President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead. File photo.
Image by: TMG
Will she appear? Will she fall sick? Will her lawyers pull a delaying tactic?
After two of her public works department colleagues had their hearings unexpectedly postponed in the last month‚ these are just some of the questions being asked ahead of the scheduled two-day appearance of Jayshree Pardesi in front of a disciplinary panel starting on Thursday morning.
Postponements have been the norm for the so-called “Nkandla fall guys”‚ who are accused of flouting tender processes over the controversial R246-million upgrade to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.
Pardesi‚ the national director of key accounts management‚ is one of ten public works officials facing action. On Thursday‚ she is set to face the music and take the stand to account for her role in the alleged irregularities. She originally made her first appearance in October 2014 before the hearings were put on ice. Pardesi’s colleagues‚ Sibusiso Chonco – deputy director for utilisations and contracts in the Durban office – and Rakesh Dhaniram – also a director of key accounts for the national department of public works – had their hearings postponed.
“Genuinely sick” Chonco had his hearing postponed to July due to his ill-health‚ while Dhaniram had his hearing postponed indefinitely after his legal team requested more documentation to mount their defence.
According to a report by the Special Investigations Unit‚ Dhaniram and Chonco flouted the open tender procedures in approving “a nominated procurement strategy for emergency building and civil works”. This reportedly cost the government millions of rand in irregular expenditure.
Pardesi is facing charges of misconduct in appointing Moneymine Investments 310 CC without following an open tender process. This apparently led to the department incurring irregular expenditure of R6.1-million. The Special Investigations Unit report into the Nkandla upgrades states that “no records exist” on the appointment of Moneymine‚ but it got the job under a “negotiated contract”.
The firm benefited and walked away with R56.2m from the project‚ namely for the implementation of security measures in the main house and the construction of six new buildings.
The hearings commenced in 2014 but had to be temporarily suspended following a legal dispute over whether the media should have access to the proceedings.