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Rustenburg rot revealed: Dubious R390m tender awarded, workers bribed

2018-03-08 17:39

A dubiously awarded R390 million contract to supply a vehicle fleet and R822 000 in bribes paid to employees are among the headaches faced by the Rustenburg local municipality.

The details of these indiscretions were heard during a Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) meeting in Mahikeng on Wednesday.

Scopa heard that a company made R16 million fixing municipal vehicles while bribing municipal workers to ensure there was even more work.

Municipal workshop workers were also bribed to say they were not well-equipped to do certain things and told to ask for vehicles to be referred to this particular company.

In an affidavit the company owner listed people he paid between April and June 2016 to make sure his company received more work.

The municipality said the police had decided not to continue with the case, saying even with the existence of the affidavit there were no prospects of successful prosecution.

The matter has since been referred to the Hawks, Scopa heard.

In another case, a company was appointed to supply a fleet of municipal vehicles in July 2015 without a council resolution and competitive tender bidding process.

It is not clear how much the company had already made at the time the contract was terminated by the municipality in 2016.

At the time, 50 vehicles – including a mayoral car which Mayor Mpho Khunou told Scopa he had refused to use – were returned. The matter was still in court.

Khunou told Scopa “until we suspended the former municipal manager, nobody in the municipality had seen contracts with the [vehicle fleet supplier]”.

He said it was only after the suspension that the dubious transaction was reported to the council.

Rustenburg municipality manager Nqobile Sithole told Scopa all this happened when most of the municipal-owned vehicles were mechanically broken, leaving the water department alone with a backlog of more than 2 000 complaints to attend to at one point.

The other problem, she said, was that the supplier of the hired vehicles brought its own drivers, thus leaving municipal drivers coming to work to sit under trees.

Khunou and Sithole assured Scopa they were on a clean-up mission and were determined to do things right and different from what former accounting officers did.

Khunou said he could not reveal much on the R391 million contract because of civil cases that were still proceeding in courts.

He said they were pushing for the man they paid – whom he described as a “corruptor” – to also face the wrath of the law.

Khunou said lots of work was given to this man’s company “without following supply chain management processes [and] this resulted in irregular expenditure”.

Some of the implicated municipal employees had since resigned while others were facing internal discipline, he added.

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August 18 2019