Lesufi Claims Secret Tender Fraud Recording Was Tampered With

Panyaza Lesufi alleges there is an attempt to taint him, pointing to “forces” – but doesn’t specifically say whom.

Lesufi Claims Secret Tender Fraud Recording Was Tampered With-SurgeZirc SA
Panyaza Lesufi/Photo File: TimesLive

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has come out guns blazing against a recording of a “secret meeting” in which he allegedly suggested that he could use his influence to bend rules on tender processes.

City Press reported on Sunday, 4 April 2021, that it was in possession of a recording, in which Lesufi can be heard discussing tenders awarded by his department.

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“I should know whether I can trust you, as you know how tenders come out. I trust comrade Mashishi. I won’t risk my future without knowing who to trust. Let’s trust each other so that we can all get empowered,” he is alleged to have said in part.

In a statement, the MEC has denied claims that the meeting was secret and said the audio clip was manipulated, with the sole intention of tarnishing his image. It claims it was actually a meeting of SGBs, the ANC Youth League, students’ representative councils, principals, the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) and business forums that were disrupting government projects.

“The allegation that this was a secret meeting is baseless and unfounded. It is unfortunate that the recording that is circulated was seriously manipulated and tampered with as it deliberately excludes the beginning of the said meeting where the purpose of the session was explained in detail. The manipulated voice clip only contains areas where the MEC was responding to questions that were raised by members of the community,” he said.

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Panyaza Lesufi alleges there is an attempt to taint him, pointing to “forces” – but doesn’t specifically say whom. “I am fully aware that there are forces at play who want to assassinate my character for political expediency. Unfortunately, in a democratic society, the accuser doesn’t have to prove their allegations but the accused must prove their innocence. I have no control over these faceless statements, but I will not be deterred to continue with my work to ensure quality education for all is realised,” Lesufi said.

The report has sparked a wave of calls for Lesufi to step down from his post, particularly from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). He was recently embroiled in another scandal after his department carelessly spent over R430 million towards the decontamination of schools.

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