Open letter to Minister Skweyiya (Social Development) regarding Food parcel supplies - 'Zungula Invest' R36 million contract? from Bantu Holomisa, MP - UDM President (6 February 2009)

The abovementioned matter has reference.

We are in receipt of a complaint from service providers in the Eastern Cape who successfully applied to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) for the contract to distribute food parcels to various communities in the said province. This contract totals R36 million.

One such example of an order for the supply of food parcels is:
. Order nr SA502413
. Value R93 000.25
. Order date: 21 January 2009
. Supplier name Bomza Cleaning, Catering & Construction
. Supplier address 30 Gobodo street, Umtata

Authority for this order was given by the General Manager of Finance of SASSA, LM Sofute, signed on 21 January 2009. Enquiries: F Ngalo 043 707 6374 of SASSA. (see the attached document, which includes these details, along with a letter of complaint)

However, when these service providers approach suppliers, i.e. wholesalers such as Metro, they are informed that they cannot be sold any items because of an existing contract between themselves and a company called "Zungula Invest". The wholesalers claim that this Zungula Invest has a contract with SASSA to the tune of R36 million and has the sole right to distribute food parcels. The service providers have been told that anybody who wants to supply food parcels must go through Zungula Invest.

On the face of it, this smacks of greed and corruption. At the very least it would appear that an artificial middleman has been inserted into this process in order to enrich somebody at the expense of the state, the service providers, and ultimately the poor.

SASSA in the Eastern Cape have told the service providers that they have no knowledge of Zungula Invest.

I call on your office to intervene and clarify this matter:
1. Are you aware of a contract between SASSA and/or the Department and Zungula Invest, and if so on what basis was that contract awarded?

2. If a contract exists with Zungula Invest, on what basis have other service providers been contracted to provide the same service, as reflected in the official SASSA documentation (see attached)?

3. Why would the Eastern Cape SASSA not be aware of any contract with Zungula Invest, as demonstrated by their contracting other service providers?

In the meantime you are kindly requested to issue a circular to all wholesalers in the Eastern Cape to clarify what the status of Zungula Invest is versus these service providers that SASSA in the Eastern Cape have contracts with.

A speedy resolution of this matter would be appreciated, since there are many people who desperately require the food parcels. One suspects that food parcels are more abundant just prior to elections, and it would be ironic if bureaucratic failures made it an issue that cost the ruling party votes instead of gaining votes.

Kind Regards,
Bantu Holomisa

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