One day after the EFF and ANC successfully ousted Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa of the DA in a motion of no confidence, MEC for human settlements and cooperative governance Lebogang Maile has announced that government intends to place the city under administration.
According to EWN, Maile said that administrative and service delivery challenges significantly compromised Tshwane’s ability to function, resulting in government’s intervention.
The ANC’s Tshwane chairperson, Kgosi Maepa, said on Thursday the challenges plaguing Tshwane included the water crisis in Hammanskraal, the irregular Aurecon deal, the Wonderboom Airport tender scandal and the recent alleged sex scandal.
Maepa said the motion of no confidence to oust Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe by working with the Pan African Congress (PAC) and the EFF was to fix the metro.
Irregular expenditure and GladAfrica
The year started on a bad note with Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu’s adverse findings of wasteful and irregular expenditure by the municipality.
Makwetu found that over R5 billion was spent irregularly in the previous financial year, adding that Tshwane largely failed to recover a significant portion of its debt.
A strong contributing factor to the metro’s dismal finances was attributed to the irregular appointment of engineering consultants GladAfrica in the 2018/2019 financial year, which cost the metro R317 million.
In addition to costing the metro dearly, the GladAfrica contract also led to tension between city manager Moeketsi Mosola and former Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga.
Supply chain management regulations and policies not being adhered to cost Tshwane R3,427,254.
Another irregularity alleged to have benefited the EFF involved tenderpreneur Hendrick Kganyago’s company, Balimi Barui Trading (BBT), which allegedly charged Tshwane inflated fuel rates, according to a damning amaBhungane report published in September.
BBT is accused of bidding on low fuel prices Tshwane did not use, and charging high rates for the two types of fuel commonly used.
The City later admitted that BBT and two other suppliers were overpaid, but said this was an “honest mistake” and not collusion.
The Hammanskraal drinking water crisis is still a contested topic.
Residents, opposition parties, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), and the department of water and sanitation (DWS) have all contested numerous claims, the most recent made by former mayor Mokgalapa that the water is safe to drink and is compliant.
Contaminated water from the Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Plant spilt into the Apies River, situated upstream of the Temba Purification Plant. This resulted in fears that diseases such as E. coli and faecal coliform would make residents sick.
Complaints have been voiced as far back as July 2018.
DWS spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said in March that the department felt the narrative pushed by Mokgalapa was false, and SAHRC Gauteng region manager Buang Jones said the commission could not declare the water safe.
When the SAHRC visited Hammanskraal again in October, the Tshwane metro was a no-show, which they said was a disregard of the Chapter 9 institution. This after the CSIR confirmed in September that the settlement’s water was not suitable for human consumption.
To make matters worse, the Hammanskraal’s residents organisation chairperson, Tumelo Koitheng, said residents were also receiving “exorbitant” water bills.
To top it off, members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) flooded streets in central Pretoria, demanding salary adjustments and calling for labour brokering to be done away with.
Samwu said the metro’s top directors were receiving 18% salary increases since 2017, and lower-ranked municipal workers were allegedly excluded from these increases.
Workers were also protesting services being outsourced by the city.
Mokgalapa’s attempts to address irate crowds proved unsuccessful, and Samwu subsequently embarked to bring the city “to its knees”.
The wage strike lasted four days until an agreement was reached, which resulted in basic municipal services being severely hindered.
And in the most recent issue, the City of Tshwane launched an investigation into alleged corruption involving a controversial property development tender.
This was with regards to the City appointing engineering consultancy firm Aurecon in April 2018 to advise which of its 52,000 properties must be developed, leased or sold across its R10-billion property portfolio.
Before the contract was awarded to Aurecon, a senior municipal official resigned, and shortly afterwards began reportedly consulting for Aurecon on the project. ANC head Kgosi Maepa said the firm was prevented from appointing a third party or subcontractor, prompting the party to lay legal charges against the City.
Mokgalapa requested that Tshwane be given time to conduct their own investigation.
Documents provided by the ANC show that Aurecon charged R6.4 million, which was paid in June 2018 – before the agreement was signed between the City and Aurecon, Maepa said.
Another alleged tender irregularity involves Wonderboom National Airport, which has reportedly deteriorated so much over the past two years that a forensic investigation into the affairs of the airport was established.
The Civil Aviation Authority threatened to shut down the airport two years ago, prompting the City to reappoint the Professional Aviation Services (PAS). This resulted in the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) calling out transgressions in reappointing the PAS.
The reappointment, Outa said, meant the City deviated from supply chain management regulations.
Instead of bringing the request to the supply chain management department, who must consider whether the deviation complies with Section 18 of the Tshwane SCM policy, the city instead allegedly sent the request to the Bid Adjudication Committee.
The PSA then began work immediately without signing an agreement.
In addition, Outa’s legal project manager, Andrea Korff, said the PSA did not have airport management experience, and dealt with airport security training, risk and asset management.
Tshwane MMC for roads and transport Sheila-Lynne Senkubuge said a forensic investigation into allegations of corruption at the airport was currently underway, and that the scope of the investigation had since extended.
(Compiled by Nica Schreuder. Additional reporting by Rorisang Kgosana, Charles Cilliers and Daniel Friedman)