THE INVESTIGATION: Lotto’s R10m mystery toilet project in EC
Company linked to Lesley Ramulifho granted millions to provide sanitation but business not found at ‘the address’
Lotto’s funding arm gave R10m to employees of Pretoria lawyer Lesley Ramulifho for “sanitation projects” at 15 schools, but the street address of his construction offices is an upmarket complex in East London where nobody has heard of their company.
The suburban block of flats was listed as the physical address for the non-profit company which was awarded the R10m contract by the National Lotteries Commission.
The award was made despite an ongoing investigation into another project in which the controversial Ramulifho is involved.
It was one of two grants, totalling R20m to build “sanitation facilities” at 25 schools awarded in November to two NPOs that have employees of Ramulifho as directors.
In its application for lottery funding, Dinosys signed the R10m contract with the Lottery for the “construction of sanitation facilities” at 15 schools.
It provided an East London address, 14 Summit Road, Beaconhurst, suggesting that the recipient schools may be in the Eastern Cape.
But a flat complex is to be found at this address, and none of the tenants are aware of a business operating there.
Ramulifho was a director of both companies but resigned his directorships a few months before the grants were awarded, according to Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) records.
The latest funding brings to R60m the known total in grants allocated since 2017 to four different NPOs and non-profit companies (NPCs) associated with Ramulifho.
The funding is for a variety of projects: a drug rehabilitation centre, a sports development programme and the construction of toilets at schools.
At least two of the four known projects funded by Lottery use Ramulifho’s law offices in Garsfontein, Pretoria as their registered postal address.
A third NPO used the office address as its official address in its successful application for Lottery funding.
And three of Ramulifho employees – Liesl Moses, Tsietsi Joseph Tshabalala, and Louisa Mangwagape – are listed directors of both of the latest NPCs to be funded.
Tshabalala describes himself on LinkedIn as a “receptionist” employed at Ramulifho’s law offices.
Projects In its application for Lottery funding, Dinosys said its physical address was 14 Summit Road, Beaconhurst, East London. But when journalist Lisekho Madikane visited this address for GroundUp, she discovered it was for a complex called Summit Green. She spoke to several residents and a helper working there, but none of them knew of any business being run out of any of the flats.
An elderly couple who have lived at the neighbouring 16 Summit Road for many years said they were not aware of a construction company operating from the flats next door.
And the owner of Loyiso Civil Construction, which operates from a nearby house, said he was not aware of Dinosys or any other construction company operating in the area.
Ramulifho was appointed a director of Dinosys in January 2018 but resigned his directorship in September 2018, about two months before the grant agreement was signed, according to CIPC records.
Dinosys signed a R10m contract with the Lottery in November 2018 for the “construction of sanitation facilities” at 15 schools. Both the Lotteries Commission and Liesl Moses, the “chairperson” and a director of the company and an employee of Ramulifho, refused to say where the schools were, whether Dinosys had any experience in construction projects, or who would build the facilities. Another non-profit, Zibsifusion, signed a grant agreement in November 2018, for the “implementation of sanitation in ten public schools”. The “physical address” for the company is given as a post office box in Malamulele in Limpopo in the grant agreement signed with the Lotteries Commission. The “registered office” of the company is that of Ramulifho’s law offices.
The agreement was signed by “chairperson” Louisa Mangwagape, an employee of Ramulifho. She failed to respond to e-mailed questions about the grant and Ramulifho’s relationship to the company.
CIPC records reveal that Mangwagape, Moses and Tshabalala are all active directors of the company and list Ramulifho’s law offices as their postal address. Ramulifho became a director of the company in May 2017 and resigned in March 2018, a few months before the Lottery funding grant was signed. A third non-profit, Denzhe Primary Care was dormant when it was hijacked and used to receive about R28.5m between June 2017 and January 2018 to build and run a drug rehabilitation centre near Pretoria. The project is the subject of litigation and is facing allegations of shoddy, incomplete construction, and claims that as much as R20m in Lottery funding is unaccounted for. The brother of the Lotteries Commission’s chief operating officer Philemon Letwaba was sole director of a construction company at the time it signed a R15m Lottery-funded contract to build the rehab. He subsequently resigned his directorship. I AM MADE 4 GOD’S GLORY (IAM4GG), a Limpopo-based project “to provide infrastructure in order to advance sport, recreation and physical activity in communities across the country”, signed a R11,37m grant agreement with the Lotteries Commission in April 2018. In its application, IAM4GG said the project was aimed at sports “transformation” and athletes from “disadvantaged . . especially rural communities”. In its funding application, IAM4GG lists Ramulifho as chairperson and Moses as “Treasury”, and gives the lawyer’s offices as the company’s address. According to the funding application, the project would create 60 full-time and 40 part-time jobs and benefit over 16,000 people.
Ramulifho has also confirmed that he used more than R535,000 of Denzhe’s Lottery funding for two Ocean Basket franchises he purchased in Gauteng. He made this admission in a sworn affidavit confirming a confused and contradictory affidavit by Denzhe’s founder, Takelane Tshikalange, who had earlier laid a complaint with police that her organisation had been “stolen” and used to apply for Lottery funding.
The affidavit contradicts the sworn affidavit she had earlier made to police. It came after a GroundUp investigation revealed the Ocean Basket payments.
In her statement, Tshikalange confirmed that Ramulifho had used the company’s money to pay for the Ocean Basket franchises, but claimed he had “repaid it”. The Lotteries Commission ignored a request from GroundUp for comment on whether this was an acceptable use of grant funding.
Read more about what the key players have to say...