“The independent investigation… has found no evidence of fraud or corruption in City Power’s tender process for the procurement of smart meters,” City Power board chairman Frank Chikane told reporters.
“The City Power managing director [Sicelo Xulu]… has been cleared of all allegations of impropriety in the tender process.”
In January, the Mail & Guardian reported that the tender process had been manipulated to favour businessman Vivian Reddy’s Edison Power Group. The tender was awarded to the company in September last year.
Reddy helped President Jacob Zuma with the first stage of upgrades at his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
The newspaper reported that Xulu was “friends with Zuma”.
It also reported that an initial technical evaluation scoresheet was amended to improve Edison Power’s result, and that a letter informing Edison it had won the tender was dated before City Power supply chain management received the bid recommendation.
On January 18, City Power appointed an independent review panel consisting of three advocates to look at the entire tender.
“They had access to any staff, they even accessed people who already left the company,” Chikane said.
“They requested the media to assist them… Unfortunately, the media did not bring information to them, and so they worked on those who brought information to them.”
He said City Power was pleased Xulu had been cleared of wrongdoing.
“This was… almost like an attempt to destabilise the system, because if you attack the MD you are attacking the head of an organisation.”
A smart meter allows City Power to remotely see a consumer’s electricity use. It allows it to track and monitor usage in real time.