Ex-DA member sticks to his guns over R600m kickback claim

Cape Town – A former DA member who has alleged that the party stood to benefit R600million from desalination projects, says he’s prepared to go for a polygraph test to corroborate his statement.

Rodney Lentit, former DA provincial legislature caucus leader and chairperson of the steering committee on environmental affairs and development planning, said he stood by his earlier statement that the party was to benefit R600m for its 2019 election campaign, if he gave a R6 billion contract for building desalination plants to Israeli companies.

Lentit challenged the DA to prove him wrong, saying he was prepared to go for a lie-detector test.

He claimed a senior party Fedex member confirmed his statement, telling him some time last year, that some members privately conceded that Lentit was right but “brutal” in going public about the matter.

Lentit said this week that in November 2016 he attended a meeting of the Federal Council where the drought situation in the province was discussed, and a committee was selected into looking at ways of mitigating in a possible water shortage.

“We were then invited to an MPL (member of the provincial legislature)meeting – a network session for all the DA members of provincial legislatures across the country – to do a presentation and one of the possible solutions we had looked at was desalination.

“We did not have any costs attached to the idea, we were merely presenting possible solutions.

“But during a break in our deliberations I was approached by two guys who were Israelis. They told me it would cost about R6bn to build the desalination plants and that the Israelis had the expertise.

“They also told me that the DA could also get R600m in return for its 2019 election campaign.

“They probably thought I had influence on the awarding of tenders,” Lentit said.

He said he only “connected the dots” after a statement that alluded to R6.3bn as a cost for building desalination plants in Cape Town.

Lentit said the DA turned against former mayor Patricia De Lille, after she refused to sign two contracts for desalination plants, amounting to R834m and R6bn respectively.

She was later removed and gagged by the DA to have any role or speak on the city council’s water augmentation plan, and was replaced by deputy mayor, Ian Nielsen and mayoral committee member for water and sanitation, Xanthea Limberg.

De Lille would not comment on the issue related to the desalination plants this week.

DA provincial leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela rejected Lentit’s claim saying he was “talking nonsense”.

“He must go lay a charge with the police and see if he will succeed,” he said.

But it is understood that she was once summoned by DA leader Mmusi Maimane to face accusations that some of the Israeli-owned companies complained to him that she was opposed to let them build the desalination plants.

Weekend Argus

Rand notes - Ex-DA member sticks to his guns over R600m kickback claim

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