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‘SPECIAL’ TENDER FOR PM’S LIDLOKOLO CONSTRUCTION

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MBABANE – Construction of outgoing Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini’s retirement home is well underway amid unanswered questions.
The tender for the building of the house has been given to a construction company known as Elima Properties.


The house is being built at Hhelehhele in Manzini near what was known as Gum Tree Shopping Complex along the under-construction Manzini-Mbadlane Highway.
It is not clear how this Elima Properties has been awarded the tender because it was never advertised.

PREFERRED PROCUREMENT METHOD
This is despite section 42 (2) (a) of the Procurement Act of 2011 spelling out clearly that the preferred method of procurement shall be ‘open tendering for goods, works and non-consulting services’.  The tender was not listed in the Swaziland Public Procurement Regulatory Agency website.


The Act emphasises issues of transparency when it comes to public procurement. In section 28, it is provided that all procurement shall be conducted in a manner which promotes economy, efficiency, transparency, accountability, fairness, competition and value for money. Both the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and the prime minister’s Office abdicated responsibility of responding to a number of questions regarding the project.


Besides the question on how Elima Properties got the tender, there are also suggestions that the construction will cost more than the E3 million that was approved by Parliament for the project. A well-informed source, who is close to the project, said there was no doubt that the house would cost way above the allocated amount if one considered the works involved.

As confirmed by drawings seen by the Times SUNDAY, the impeccable source disclosed that the house is a four-bedroom double-storey mansion that has an outdoor swimming pool and an indoor sauna. “Even though Parliament approved only E3 million for the house, the plan has not been altered to suit this amount, but it is still based on the original drawings,” the source said.

He said considering this, there has to be clarity from government’s side on where the money to finance the entire project will come from. “Because this is a double-storey building, you will find that the E3 million will be exhausted only on the first floor.

E3 million is just peanuts compared to what the house will cost when complete. Parliament approved E3 million but the prime minister has insisted that he wants the house as originally designed. As to where the money to do this will come from, it’s only him who knows,” stated the source. Another question that begs answers is why the prime minister decided to abandon original plans to have the house constructed in Mbabane.

RETIREMENT HOME BUILT
This publication has proof that initially, the intention was to have the retirement house built on portion 1081 of Farm 2 in the Hhohho region.
This plot is situated at Dalriach – a suburban area in the capital city, Mbabane - and there have been suspicions in the past that he could choose this area for his retirement home.


Earlier this year, the Times SUNDAY managed to trace this plot’s location and found that there have been previous attempts to clear the area of overgrowth. At the time, it was evident that this was done some time ago because the overgrown vegetation had found its way back to the path and road track leading to the plot. The plot is not situated far from Sifundzani High School where the PM’s youngest daughter, Busisiwe Johnson, is employed as a teacher.


The impeccable source’s information that the PM’s house will cost way above the E3 million is backed by what he (PM) told Parliament earlier this when the legislators debated and agreed to slash the cost from the originally allocated E5.5 million.


He boldly stated that the plot cost not less than E3 million and had neighbours with houses worth more than E10 million.
While at the time the PM made this statement, it was not known who his neighbours would be. It can now be confirmed that one of these would be Lubombo Regional Administrator Sylvia Mtsetfwa.
 

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