The African National Congress (ANC) Mangaung regional task team has come out in support of the party’s secretary general Ace Magashule, criticising what it calls, continued attempts by a section of the media to tarnish his name.

This after reports emerged that Mashagule played a role in two of his sons clinching COVID-19 related contracts from the Free State treasury.

The ANC Mangaung regional task team is rallying behind the former Free State premier. ANC Mangaung task team Chairperson, Mxolisi Siyonzana, says “Mr Mashagule is in Luthuli House. He is not serving in any government structure.”

Magashule’s sons are listed as directors of two companies, Motheko Projects and Marvel Deeds, which are among the companies that secured contracts with Free State Treasury.

The task team says opportunists are attempting to tarnish the image of ANC leaders. The region says Magashule is not in government and therefore, his children are not excluded by law from doing business with the state.

They say Magashule cannot be linked to government procurement processes.  And that no law in the country bars relatives of politicians from doing business with the state.

Siyonzana says Magashule’s sons should not be discriminated against.

“They can enter into any procurement because they are private citizens. It cannot be right for citizens of this country or media to discriminate against them because they are sons of leaders of the ANC. Discrimination is wrong, even if it’s done to the children of our leaders and they cannot live under the shadow of their parents.”

Head of the Treasury Department, Godfrey Mahlatsi, says the department followed the procedure in appointing service providers for COVID-19-related tenders.

“The regulations do not prevent the two service providers to have been awarded contracts provided that they would have followed proper procedures. In these cases, the two service providers were are among the first ones to come with samples and the samples were tested by the Department of Health and we also checked their pricing and their pricing was also within the prescribed price list of the Treasury.”

Meanwhile, alliance partners have called for the abolition of the tendering system.  The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) Provincial Secretary, Bakoena Ramosie, says the tendering system is the source of corruption in the country.

Free State SACP deputy secretary Teboho Kholoanyane says “We are calling for the de-tenderisation of the state because we think that the state should have the capacity to deliver to its constituency.”

Free State Cosatu secretary, Monyatso Mahlatsi says, “We would like the Free State government to engage in quality assurance process that will give all of us some form of relief and understanding that all tenders that have been issued went fair and the process whereby people who contested had a fair opportunity to participate.”

Free State Sanco secretary, Bakwena Ramosie says “It is high time that we must abolish this tendering system and introduce corporative systems. because with corporative we know that many community members will be involved in providing services.”

Free State Treasury Head Godfrey Mahlati insists it’s not in the wrong, stating that tender processes were not flouted to benefit Magashule’s sons or any politically connected individuals.

“We need to appoint a service provider that is going to review the work performed by supply chain practitioners to make sure all processes are properly followed.”

Opposition parties in the province insist the provincial treasury’s procurement processes are questionable.