City probed over al­leged nepo­tism

Pub­lic pro­tec­tor’s of­fice in­ves­ti­gat­ing

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BULELWA PAYI

THE City of Cape Town is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for al­leged nepo­tism as well as ten­der de­vel­op­ment ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.

The Of­fice of the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor has con­firmed it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the al­le­ga­tions against the city’s Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion Depart­ment.

In the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year, more than R35 mil­lion was paid to con­sul­tants de­spite the fact that a needs as­sess­ment for the ten­der was ini­ti­ated only this July.

A se­nior of­fi­cial is at the cen­tre of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion, waste­ful, fruit­less and ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture re­gard­ing the ten­der. The of­fi­cial’s iden­tity is known to Week­end Ar­gus.

The probe comes as the city grap­ples with a se­vere wa­ter short­age af­ter re­ceiv­ing dis­as­ter re­lief aid from the na­tional gov­ern­ment.

Cleo Mosana, spokesper­son for Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane’s of­fice, con­firmed an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was in progress and that it was too early to say how long it would take to com­plete.

The probe would also fo­cus on al­le­ga­tions that cer­tain peo­ple in the Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion Depart­ment had been hired at a cost of over R1.4m per year with­out meet­ing the bench­mark re­quire­ments of Na­tional Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Frame­work 6 and that they al­legedly had no “ex­ten­sive rel­e­vant man­age­rial ex­pe­ri­ence”.

It was al­leged that the city was pay­ing the con­sul­tants to do the work that was sup­posed to be done by the of­fi­cial.

The City is be­ing probed for al­leged ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties re­gard­ing the ten­der for the con­sul­tants it­self, the scope of which in­cluded the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a in­fra­struc­ture-re­li­a­bil­ity en­gi­neer­ing cen­tre for the city.

It is al­leged the Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion Depart­ment had its own re­li­a­bil­ity en­gi­neer­ing sec­tion whose man­date was the same as that of the con­sul­tants and there­fore a per­cep­tion was cre­ated that it was “un­der-re­sourced”.

It was claimed that the in­ter­nal struc­ture had staff who were qual­i­fied and ex­pe­ri­enced, but that since the ap­point­ment of the con­sul­tants they­had been side­lined.

De­spite their charg­ing the city ex­or­bi­tant fees on a monthly ba­sis and that may­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for In­for­mal Set­tle­ments, Wa­ter and En­ergy Xanthea Lim­berg said in a state­ment that the con­sul­tants had been hired on an “as and when re­quired” ba­sis, it has been al­leged that from Fe­bru­ary 2015 to date, they had used the city’s IT in­fra­struc­ture, prime of­fice space, tele­phones and sta­tionery.

The def­i­ni­tion of the ten­der was also be­ing probed as it was de­fined as a term ten­der, which al­lowed flex­i­bil­ity in terms of the con­tract value.

The re­la­tion­ship be­tween the con­sul­tants and cer­tain of­fi­cials in the Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion Depart­ment was also be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

It is al­leged that rel­a­tives of one of the man­agers were linked to the con­sult­ing com­pany and a rel­a­tive of one was em­ployed in the depart­ment.

The City of Cape Town’s Priya Reddy said it was aware of the al­le­ga­tions and an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion had been launched. She said she would be able to com­ment only once the probe was con­cluded.

Reddy said the probe fo­cused on “ad­her­ence” to the ten­der award, al­le­ga­tions against cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als with re­gard to re­la­tion­ships and “the per­for­mance against the ten­der”.

Reddy said the city was, how­ever, not aware of the pub­lic pro­tec­tor’s probe.

ANC chief whip in the City of Cape Town metro, Xolani So­tashe, said while he wel­comed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, it should be ex­tended to other “acts of cor­rup­tion”.

“We had raised these con­cerns at our coun­cil de­bates but these were brushed aside. There is a lot go­ing on and we need to hold the city ac­count­able for clean gov­er­nance. If it claims to be the work­ing for ev­ery­one, then it must show how it de­liv­ered value to or­di­nary ratepay­ers,” So­tashe added.

Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.