North West Public Works and Roads head of department (HOD), Moses Ikgopopeng Kgantsi, has refused to comment on allegations he and Chief Financial Officer Peter Moyakhayakha Modika demanded kickbacks from a company which scored a R134 million contract even though it abandoned projects in 2021.
Kgantsi and Modika have been accused of privately meeting Ndhuna Civil Engineering Services managing director, Oberon Matsuvuki, in Mahikeng and demanding a five percent bribe in exchange for signing off on the Khunotswana road refurbishment contract in March this year.
At the same meeting, the two officials allegedly also offered to increase Ndhuna’s scope of work with a variation. According to highly placed sources familiar with the process leading to the awarding of the contract, both in and outside the department, Kgantsi only signed off on the R134 million tender to build a tar road in Zeerust three months after the department’s supply chain management committee awarded it in December.
One of them, James Gadinabokao, the president of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) GATVOL, told African Times on Thursday that it took Kgantsi three months to sign the Ndhuna contract because he wanted “to discuss the bribery” and “what is in it for him”.
He has since called for Kgantsi’s suspension and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe into tender irregularities, fraud and corruption in North West.
Kgantsi allegedly insisted on meeting with Matsuvuki in person first before signing off on the multimillion-rand contract. Moreover, the HOD has been accused of approving the invoices submitted by Matsuvuki for work not done, allegedly in exchange for kickbacks.
Kgantsi and Modika failed to respond to detailed questions about their roles in the awarding of the controversial Ndhuna contract. Kgantsi cited an internal investigation ordered by North West Public Works and Roads MEC Gaoage Molapisi.
The questions included the reasons why it took him three months to sign the contract, allegations that he and Modika met Matsuvuki privately and demanded a five percent kickback, and allegations that he approved payment for work not done in exchange for bribes, among others.
“As we are well aware by now- the MEC for Public Works and Roads in the North West, Gaoge Molapisi, announced yesterday (Thurs) that he has ordered an internal investigation into the matter you have extensively reported on, in your media platform in the past two days.
It is against that background- the establishment of the internal investigation- that the Head of the Department, Moses Kgantsi, considers it proper and fair, that he reserves any comment (s) and or attempt to respond to your questions, at least for now,” said Matshube Mfoloe, the spokesperson of the North West Department of Public Works and Roads.
“This should not be construed as an act of evading the issues you have raised to date, or questions you have asked. Rather, understand this, as a proper and professional stance taken, to give that investigation, as pronounced by the MEC, time and space to fully conduct and conclude its work.”
Kgantsi further said he had “confidence that all the issues, and maybe what you have raised as allegations, will be responded to and dealt with thoroughly at the appropriate time and forum, as pronounced by the MEC”.
Modika also refused to comment on his role in the awarding of the Ndhuna contract, including allegations that he and Kgantsi met Matsuvuki privately and demanded a five percent kickback, as well as claims that he paid Ndhuna for work not done in exchange for bribes.
Moreover, he conceded that he had met Matsuvuki on two occasions but declined to discuss the contents of the gatherings. He said the discussions were private.
“I do confirm that I have met this particular service provider on two occasions in my capacity as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the department. As CFO, I do have “a professional” relationship with almost all of them (service providers). As and when service providers have financial queries with the Department, the CFO will attend to those either in person, by email or telephonically. Discussions and outcomes of such meetings remain and are treated as private, and cannot just be ventilated in public by the Office of the CFO,” Modika said.
Matsivuki did not respond to detailed questions sent last week about his track record in North West, poor workmanship, the basis on which he got a R134 million contract after abandoning two projects, and allegations that he paid officials and politicians kickbacks to get his tenders.
He initially agreed to an in-person interview but later ignored follow-up calls to schedule it. The Khunotswana contract is among a string of questionable tenders awarded to Ndunha Civils in North West, Limpopo, Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal.
African Times previously reported that Ndhuna abandoned the project for the construction of the road between Segwaelane and Wonderkop, and another road between Hebron and Letlhabile, after receiving a notice of termination from the department due to “poor workmanship”.
The company left two incomplete road projects in Rustenburg and Brits in 2021, after pocketing R25 million, claiming cash flow problems and community disruptions. However, after pocketing R15.1 million, Matsuvuki halted the contract alleging cash flow problems. He then abandoned the project after receiving a notice of termination for poor performance.
The same goes for the Hebron project, valued at R21.5 million, for the special maintenance of the road in the Brits area. Ndhuna Civils again abandoned the site after pocketing R10 million, claiming it had run out of cash.
Last month he sent three invoices with different figures for the same job, which raised questions about potentially inflated or fraudulent claims by the company for its work on the Khunotswana project. The first two invoices were rejected by the department.