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Somehow, the Sekunjalo story won't go away. Now the Competition Commission has issued a statement saying that the multimillion-rand tender to combat illegal fishing along the South African coastline was being investigated.

Competition commissioner Shan Ramburuth said the commission was particularly concerned about the allegations of bid rigging made against Sekunjalo after it emerged that the company had submitted four bids under different company and consortium names, which were all accompanied by Sekunjalo's 2010 annual report.

Sekunjalo, which is listed on the JSE, was accused of having gained an unfair through the Thlakanelo Employee Share Trust, 33 000 Harmony employees below management level will own a 2.9 percent stake. Advantage in submitting four bids for the tender, a commission statement released by NGO Corruption Watch said. It noted that questions had also been raised about why the department ignored a conflict of interest arising from the fact that one of Sekunjalo's subsidiaries, Premier Fishing, had rights to fish in South African waters.

The commissioner said this meant Sekunjalo would be both referee and player in a R2 billion fishing industry "giving it a sizeable advantage".

Last night, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson waded into the public furore saying that she was dismayed that DA MP Pieter van Dalen had linked the minister's visit to Sweden to the now cancelled fishing tender.

The minister had repeatedly answered questions and also queries by the public protector about this matter, her spokesman, Rams Mabote, said. It was sub judice.

"The tender awarded to Sekunjalo last year has been withdrawn and insofar as the minister is concerned, continued reference to it is nothing short of cheap politicking," said Mabote.

The minister noted that the DA was not focusing on the current incumbent, Smit Amandla, which faced allegations "a possible corruption, tender rigging and bribery".

"Mr van Dallen (sic) is still harping on (about) a company that is no longer part of the equation," she said.

She promised to leave "no stone unturned" in investigating these allegations "and root out, if any, rotten elements" in her department.

This article appeared in the the Business Report on 16 March 2012.


Corruption Watch's coverage of the Sekunjalo story revealed that the multimillion-rand tender to combat illegal fishing along the South African coastline was being investigated, according to Business Report.