Chamber challenges R23m deal
Contract not irregular, says EMLM
Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) is stalling to respond to the Border Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB) over an alleged irregular appointment of an outside security contract worth R23m.
According to the chamber, the appointment allegedly took place despite a local security company having offered to do the same job for only R6m.
The recruitment is also said to have occurred without the approval of the National Cabinet Representative (NCR).
The information was revealed in a leaked email written by BKCOB chair Lisle Clark addressed to EMLM council speaker Noluthando Nqabisa.
The response cut-off date was October 27. Three weeks, after the said deadline, the municipality still has not replied.
EMLM mayor Thembeka Bunu had acknowledged Clark’s correspondence about the matter.
Bunu wrote: “…l apologise for the late response. However, presently, am still waiting for the proper report regarding the matter from the management of the municipality,”
In the email Clark had stated: “It had come to our attention that the local council, under your direction, intends to appoint a security contract to an outside service provider to the value of R23m when the local security provider tendered R6m for the same scope of work.”
He further indicated this was despite being informed specifically of obtaining approval from the office of the NCR before any contracts of this nature could be awarded.
Clark, on behalf of the business community, requested confirmation of the decision and, if so, for reasons supporting the decision to be furnished in writing.
In the written response, the municipality was asked to also make reference to why the council, which is under national administration, made the appointment in apparent defiance of instructions from the office of the NCR.
“Why local council would make an award at an amount almost 400% greater than the price tendered by the local service provider when the municipality is technically insolvent and unable to repay its Eskom debt.”
Clark added that businesses viewed the type of behavior as reckless to the highest regard and demanded immediate intervention.
He indicated that if the decision was confirmed, by a copy of the mail, they request that the office of NCR implement the necessary disciplinary proceedings against the individual (s) responsible for this decision.
If the municipality had failed to meet the deadline to respond Clark had written that the matter would be escalated to a meeting with the ratepayers to take further steps which are required.
On Monday, Clark told The Rep they still have not received a response from the municipality.
“Our gist is that the municipality is looking for service providers outside the business community of Komani, at rates which are four times the price of what can be contained locally and that it has [allegedly] been done without due process.
“This is one of their major security contracts which are currently in place. The matter was also raised at the Enoch Mgijima Ratepayers Association’ meeting.”
He said they had put forward recommendations with the EMLM ratepayers’ associationand would “review the actions of the municipality to determine a way forward”.
In response, EMLM spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa said it was predictable that false alarms were rung by unsuccessful candidates whenever an appointment of a service provider was made.
“It is important to note that not a single local business made an application and it was thus impossible to appoint them. The alleged figures are false and misleading.
“The new contract will give the municipality savings of R23 209.04 a month compared to the previous contract. The previous company did not charge the municipality as per gazetted SIRA (used private security industry regulatory authority) rates.
“Also, the previous contract had 133 personnel while the new one has 136 guards charging less than the previous company,” Kowa said.
He indicated, the appointment was made using normal supply chain management regulations.
“According to our records, no processes were flouted.”
He added anyone with information suggesting otherwise should come forward and report it.
❝ Our gist is that the municipality is looking for service providers outside the business community of Komani, at rates which are four times the price of what can be contained locally, [allegedly] without due process’