New Madiba structure spoiled by controversy

It’s emerged the company hired to erect a Nelson Mandela structure may have been awarded the tender illegally.

FILE: It’s emerged the company hired to erect a Nelson Mandlea structure may have been awarded the tender illegally. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A new bust of the late former President Nelson Mandela has been marred by controversy as Parliament plans to unveil it on its front steps on 28 April.

The bust of Madiba was commissioned to celebrate 20 years of democracy but it's now emerged the company hired to erect the structure, may have been awarded the tender illegally.

The _Sunday Times _newspaper is reporting that Koketso Growth, which is owned by Dali Tambo, was incorrectly awarded the contract last year after being instructed to build a statue of Madiba at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The newspaper says Parliament's supply chain management section ordered a probe into the legality of the tender after documents showed regulations were not followed.

It's understood Parliament referred to the cost of the bust as emergency expenditure and though it was initially estimated to cost R1.8 million, the price has since been inflated to almost R2.6 million.

Tambo has refused to comment on the matter.

Parliamentary spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs says their accounting officers will be meeting with all relevant departments involved in the tender process.

"The accounting office is convening a meeting tomorrow to look into this matter. It's very important for government to clarify these processes."

UPROAR OVER RABBIT IN EAR OF MADIBA STATUE

The government was in January up in arms over a bronze rabbit crafted inside the ear of the statue Mandela.

The government said it wanted the creature removed to "restore integrity" to the 9-metre bronze sculpture of the anti-apartheid hero, who died on 5 December aged 95.

The statue, the world's biggest representing Mandela, was inaugurated at the Union Buildings 11 days after his death.

Artists Ruhan Janse van Vuuren and Andre Prinsloo say they added the animal, its ears erect, as a personal stamp after the government stopped them from engraving signatures on their 4.5 ton statue, and as a nod to the tight deadline they faced.

The Afrikaans word for rabbit "haas" also means haste.