Town­ship ten­der ‘scam’


The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Brian Sokutu bri­[email protected]­i­

Con­trac­tors in Ekurhu­leni are in­voic­ing for work done by mu­nic­i­pal work­ers – Samwu.

Waste man­age­ment ten­ders in the City of Ekurhu­leni have be­come a sore point in sim­mer­ing ten­sions be­tween the South African Mu­nic­i­pal Work­ers Union (Samwu) and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

The union said the metro did not need the mul­ti­mil­lion-rand waste col­lec­tion and dis­posal con­tracts awarded to ex­ter­nal par­ties. Samwu gen­eral sec­re­tary Koena Ramot­lou said the con­tracts, which run to R276 mil­lion an­nu­ally to “em­power” town­ship-based con­trac­tors, were a cash cow for ten­der­preneurs.

“What is needed is ca­pac­i­ta­tion and re­in­forced staff to en­sure waste is col­lected and dis­posed of in line with the city’s sched­ule.

“For the record, the Ekurhu­leni metro does not need waste col­lec­tion and dis­posal con­tracts. Cur­rently, the city has funded va­can­cies in the waste depart­ment.

“In­stead of en­sur­ing that these va­can­cies are filled in line with the city’s em­ploy­ment poli­cies, they have rushed to fill the pock­ets of peo­ple known to be bene­fac­tors of politi­cians in the city.

“Samwu re­mains op­posed to the de­liv­ery of ser­vices through the ten­der­ing process as this is not in the in­ter­est of ser­vice de­liv­ery or the work­ers em­ployed by the con­trac­tors.

“The con­trac­tors al­ways charge ex­or­bi­tant amounts for the same work that mu­nic­i­pal em­ploy­ees can do. On top of that, the con­trac­tors pay their em­ploy­ees peanuts with no job se­cu­rity or ben­e­fits,” said Ramot­lou.

Asked for a re­sponse, Ekurhu­leni spokesper­son Nh­lanhla Ce­bekhulu said: “We don’t want to dig­nify all the al­le­ga­tions in the Samwu state­ment with a re­sponse.

“Kindly ask spe­cific ques­tions for the story you in­tend writ­ing.”

Af­ter pro­vid­ing a list of ques­tions and a day to an­swer to Samwu’s charges, no re­sponse was forth­com­ing from the metro.

Mean­while, Samwu de­manded the im­me­di­ate re­in­state­ment of 40 Ekurhu­leni em­ploy­ees axed “to cover up money laun­der­ing”.

Ramot­lou said: “Samwu has noted with great dis­ap­point­ment and dis­gust the ir­ra­tional de­ci­sion taken by the Ekurhu­leni metro to sum­mar­ily dis­miss 40 em­ploy­ees of the environmen­tal re­sources and waste man­age­ment depart­ment.

“The em­ployer con­tends that 40 em­ploy­ees were un­ruly and com­mit­ted gross mis­con­duct, which war­rants im­me­di­ate ter­mi­na­tion of their con­tracts.

“When work­ers re­ported for duty on Mon­day they were ran­domly pointed out to po­lice by man­age­ment al­leg­ing they pre­vented con­trac­tors [from work­ing] who were il­le­gally ap­pointed by the city to man­age waste col­lec­tion and dis­posal.”

Af­ter the po­lice re­leased the work­ers, the metro gave them let­ters of im­me­di­ate dis­missal.

“We are not sur­prised that de­spite talks in the lo­cal labour fo­rum not be­ing fully ex­hausted on the ap­point­ment of these con­tac­tors in terms of sec­tion 77 and 78 of the Mu­nic­i­pal Sys­tems Act, for rea­sons which have be­come ob­vi­ous, the city rushed to ap­point these con­tac­tors, flout­ing le­gal pre­scripts in the process.

“Politi­cians in the city are po­si­tion­ing them­selves for the ANC elec­tive con­gresses and have seen an op­por­tu­nity to laun­der money through these con­trac­tors to boost their can­di­da­tures us­ing tax­pay­ers’ money.”

He added that the proof was in the fact that “these con­trac­tors have been in­voic­ing Ekurhu­leni for work not done or work com­pleted by city em­ploy­ees”.

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