Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina has refuted any wrong-doing in the awarding of the R1.9 billion chemical toilet tender.
He explained that the three-year tender was awarded in June 2016, while he only came into office in August 2016, therefore the media was asking “the wrong person” about the matter.
“Ask the people of that time if they were awarding their friends because it was not me,” he said in a press briefing on Wednesday responding to allegations made in an amaBhungane investigation.
Masina then vouched for former executive mayor Mondli Ngugubele, who according to coalition partner African Independent Congress (AIC) should account for the scandal. He further disputed claims of the amount spent on the project. According to Masina, only R872 million was spent on the toilets and not R1.9 billion as reported.
“Even though that administration is not here, there is no scandal here of R1.9 billion. There is no wrong-doing here, they did nothing,” he said.
The Ekurhuleni Municipality made headlines after it was reported that the tender to supply portable chemical toilets to the city’s informal settlements had come into question. The investigation showed that the tender had serious lack of municipal oversight and was allegedly used as a “get rich-quick” scheme for contractors who were performing poorly.
Masina denied any allegations pertaining to lack of oversight where the municipality was concerned. He said all toilets, which were delivered by the Ekurhuleni water and sanitation department, were signed off upon delivery.
“If you ask me [if] 39 000-odd toilets were delivered, I would say yes. Are they being cleaned as per the contract, yes,” he said.
The mayor believes that this was all part of a smear campaign to force him to resign.
“When people write WhatsApp messages, they think the mayor is going to resign; I am going nowhere. I will stay here until the end of my term and serve the people of this area without hesitation.”