Our zero this week is DA official Paul Hattingh, who is accused of diverting lucrative contracts – to the value of R70-million – in his own direction over the course of four years. His wife and alleged girlfriend were also grateful beneficiaries, and for this abuse of power Hattingh is a worthy zero of the week. The Sunday Times, which reported on the matter, revealed that Hattingh sits on the tender board of the City of Cape Town, and saw fit to award his own company, and two others belonging to each of the women, several multi-million-rand tenders. This flagrant conflict of interest resulted in Hattingh and his accomplices supplying the city with cleaning materials such as shoe and furniture polish, refuse bags, and insecticide. From the Constitution downwards, the law is clear that public services and administrative functions must be carried out without bias or partiality. The treasury’s municipal code of conduct for supply chain management states that: Officials and other role players should not perform their duties to unlawfully gain any form of compensation, payment or gratuities from any person, or provider/contractor for themselves, their family or their friends. “A paper trail shows that one business run by Hattingh’s wife, Simonéy, was paid R11.7-million from 2008 to 2012 for items such as disinfectant, liquid hand soap and rat poison on top of R8 208 for ‘hamburger’ and R6 840 for ‘chocolate (Bar One)’,” the Sunday Times noted. The paper also alleged that a travel company owned by Hattingh’s mother-in-law received contracts from the city worth R5.6-million. It is not stated that Hattingh was involved in the awarding of these contracts. Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said: “The three companies – Cosmic Gold 532, Cosmic Gold 517 and TTANIC Trading – were awarded tenders to supply the City of Cape Town with cleaning materials and refuse bags. Each tender cost between R900 000 and R45-million.” The Hawks conducted the investigation which was based on evidence supplied by city management. The trio appeared in court at the beginning of February and were released on bail of R50 000 each, reportedly paid by Hattingh’s father. They deny all charges and will return to court in mid-March.