Sassa dishes out R80m tender to firm being probed by Hawks

A Johannesburg company that allegedly benefited from an irregularly awarded SA Security Services (Sassa) tender has been awarded another multimillion rand contract by the same entity.

Azande Consulting, owned by Doreen Makhaye, was initially hired to cater for Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s ministerial imbizos in the Eastern Cape in 2013.

The imbizos, which cost R4.8-million, form part of a Hawks investigation after it was found the tender was awarded irregularly.

Times Media can also reveal that Azande Consulting is set to benefit from another events tender, this time to the value of R80-million.

A letter of accreditation, signed by acting Sassa chief executive Raphaahle Ramokgopa on June 23,advises Makhaye that her company has been listed on the agency’s database for “Project Mikondzo” for a period of three years.

Azande Consulting is required to render “event management services as and when required”.

Project Mikondzo, also known as Mikondzo Event Management, is a Sassa initiative spearheaded by Dlamini as part of her outreach programmes across the country.

Despite Hawks Eastern Cape spokeswoman Anelisa Feni denying the unit was investigating anything to do with Sassa or Azande, three sources in Sassa confirmed the investigation.

In addition, when contacted for comment regarding the investigation, Sassa’s national spokesman, Kgomotso Diseko, said: “With regards to the Hawks case, we would like the legal process to proceed without undue hindrance.”

It is alleged that the R4.8-millionfor the 2013 imbizos was irregularly spent for two events, for which Azande reportedly benefited.

However, Sassa’s bid adjudication committee (BAC) found that prior approval by former chief executive Virginia Petersen or the BAC was not granted before the services were rendered, rendering this an irregular expense.

This led to two of the most senior Sassa officials in the Eastern Cape being suspended for their role in signing off and approving the money to be paid.

A Sassa manager, who confirmed being questioned by Hawks investigators, said: “The Hawks are investigating this after Sassa’s adjudication committee found that the payment to Azande and other companies was irregular spending.”

Another Sassa source accused the Hawks of being “captured” and lying that there was no investigation.

“It’s surprising for them to say that they are not investigating any case with us.

“You can ask anyone with Sassa, including service providers,” the source said.

Makhaye refused to comment, saying she had an agreement with Sassa not to speak about the matter.

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