Thabethe admits deviating from tender processes, denies mismanagement

Thabethe admits deviating from tender processes, denies mismanagement

The former head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Free State, Peter Thabethe, has admitted that he deviated from normal tender processes in the appointment of Estina to implement the Vrede dairy farm project.

State Capture Inquiry

Thabethe continued his testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture on Tuesday.


He said the decision was taken as the project was unique.


"We deviated from the normal procurement processes for two reasons: One was that we needed the expertise of Estina and Paras to assist us with the implementation of the project because if we had gone on tender we would have gotten someone else. Secondly was because they were going to finance the project and if we as government went on tender we wouldn't be able to get that funding."


Thabethe was also asked about his decision to sign agreements on behalf of the department, committing to the project before the funds were available.

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Evidence Advocate Leah Gcabashe: "Section 38 of the PFMA (Public Finance Management Act) says an accounting officer may not commit a department, trading entity or any constitutional institution to any liability for which money has not been appropriated. My reading of what happened is that you on signing the agreements committed the department to obligations where the money had not been appropriated to meet those obligations. Would you agree with me?”


Thabethe: “The commitment is what had been agreed upon. You agree then you allocate the money, but you first get approval from the executive council then you can commit.”


Gcabashe had an issue with Thabethe's explanation, as she claimed the records showed that he signed the agreements, committing the department, before approval was given by thedepartment’s executive council.


Thabethe disagreed and maintained he was not guilty of any mismanagement.

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