The Rep

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’

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