City Press 04 November 2019

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha allegedly personally threatened to discipline an official for raising a red flag against a R585 million broadband tender that was wrongfully awarded to a private company.

When the official ignored the threat, Mathabatha suspended him five months later.

Mathabatha’s government awarded the tender to Altech Alcom Matomo in 2017 to connect Limpopo departments and the general population, even though it was the responsibility of the State Information Technology Agency (Sita) to do such a job as stated in the Sita Act.

City Press has seen Mathabatha’s letter that he wrote to provincial government information technology officer Lesetja Mathiba on May 22.

The letter flies in the face of his office’s response last week, which said that provincial government encouraged public servants to report corruption or maladministration to law enforcement agencies.

In the letter, the premier wrote: “It has come to my notice that you continuously make certain negative allegations against management in the Limpopo administration in relation to the Limpopo broadband connection network projects contained in your letter dated May 20 2019, prepared and dispatched to members of staff and also in your previous correspondences, including media interviews.

“I therefore view your conduct in a very serious light, especially in that there is no evidence in support of the allegations made … In view of the above, you are instructed to desist from making unsubstantiated allegations against the Limpopo provincial government and/or any of its officials with immediate effect.”

Mathabatha warned Mathiba that if he failed to honour “this lawful instruction”, he would consider taking disciplinary action.

Mathiba persisted with his criticism and was suspended on October 18 for misconduct relating to failure to use proper mechanisms or follow official procedures to register his dissatisfaction with Limpopo Connexion, a subsidiary of the Limpopo Economic Development Agency, which awarded the broadband project.

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