Mayor backs down after DA pressure

Former executive mayor of Tshwane Kgosientso Ramokgopa. Picture: Sabrina Dean

Has Tshwane entered into another dodgy deal that will cost ratepayers more than R4 billion?

According to the DA, Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa was planning to pass a broadband deal through council without following proper procedure. But the city claims it’s a gamechanger.

“The City of Tshwane is introducing a ground-breaking and innovative broadband project aimed at bringing down the cost of government, promote and support e-government like eTshwane, generate new revenue streams as well as improve service delivery and government responsiveness,” the municipality said. Shortly after the DA announced the mayor’s plans, it is understood the city took a decision to withdraw tabling the contract at today’s council meeting.

DA Tshwane mayoral candidate Solly Msimanga said yesterday several government departments had raised objections to the legality of the contract. The DA is claiming that National Treasury, the Gauteng provincial treasury and the national department of telecommunications and postal services had raised serious concerns regarding the procurement process.

Msimanga said Ramokgopa had failed to table the critical objections, which was a clear attempt to mislead council and citizens of Tshwane. “National Treasury specifically instructed Tshwane to table their objections and reservations in council, despite what Ramokgopa is attempting to do,” he said “Tshwane has concealed the fact that National Treasury has requested further documentation on the legal compliance and the business case for the broadband project.

Frighteningly, the guaranteed minimum total value of the 18-year contract before adjustments for inflation is R4.65 billion, with no emergency brakes to any cost escalation.” But following the city’s withdrawal to tabling the contract, Msimanga said it was clear the city had buckled under pressure from the DA.

“This latest somersault by the mayor and his administration is a vindication of the DA’s pursuit to ensure that proper tender processes, procedures and regulations are followed by the city of Tshwane.”

Tshwane, however, insisted it was forging ahead.

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