Zwane denies builders were handpicked for FS R1bn housing project

Johannesburg – Former Free State human settlement MEC Mosebenzi Zwane on Monday tried to explain why builders were handpicked for the province’s R1-billion housing project.

Zwane admitted to the State Commission of Inquiry that advance payments were made to suppliers without procurement processes being followed.

He claimed he wanted an open tender process and denied knowing a legitimate open process was already underway.

He said he believed that the open tender process that he wanted was the way to build a database of qualified contractors.

Zwane also denied that he and the provincial executive wanted to handpick builders that they wanted, but he confirmed 23 builders that were included but disputed building bigger houses for the same price were excluded.

“When we reported that these contractors had laid a dispute… we said, ‘okay, they’ve laid a dispute. Cancel their contract and ensure that we then have contractors willing to continue at the same price of R50,000,” said Zwane.

He was yet to speak about the advance payment system that paid R600 million to building material suppliers before they supplied the materials.

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