DA shadow minister of police Zakhele Mbhele says the opposition party will be laying a complaint against Nhleko with the public protector in connection with weekend reports alleging that he paid his girlfriend’s company R30,8 million for an anti-xenophobia campaign.

The City Press on Sunday reported that Nomcebo Mthembu’s non-governmental organisation, Indoni, was paid millions to provide services including a mass community implementation to produce a total of 191 000 peer educators for the We Are One Humanity campaign and for workshops and cultural events against xenophobia – services that officials claim the police department could have secured free of charge.

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“The DA contends that the Minister is in breach of the duties assigned to him by the Executive Ethics Code. Section 2 of the Executive Ethics Act forbids ‘Cabinet members, Deputy Ministers and MECs from…exposing themselves to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and their private interests; (iv) using their position or any information entrusted to them, to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person; and (v) acting in a way that may compromise the credibility or integrity of their office or of the government’,” Mbhele said in a statement.

The complaint will be laid with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

“The DA has been aware of allegations that Minister Nhleko abused his position of office to improperly benefit his girlfriend’s non-profit organisation, Indoni… It has always seemed odd that an anti-xenophobia campaign to promote social cohesion was done through the Police Ministry rather than through, or at least in partnership with, the Arts and Culture portfolio. Email correspondence shows that the lucrative tender was awarded without following due process after getting ‘direct approval from the minister’.”

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Among some of the costs that Indoni reportedly charged the department are R1,32 million for photographers and videographers, R1,83 million for programme administration costs that included human resources, and R1,2 million for creative materials.

Nhleko’s spokesperson Sandile Ngidi denied the allegations calling them “untrue”.

“There is no funding contract between the ministry and Indoni. Instead, there is a memorandum of understanding between the two entities which was signed before Nhleko was pointed to head the police ministry,” he told the newspaper.