Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
7 Apr 2021
12:43 pm

Mayors play blame game in Joburg’s R500m ‘red fleet tender’

Siyanda Ndlovu

The Johannesburg high court declared the 'red fleet tender' valued at over R500 million 'unlawful and constitutionally invalid.'

Photo for illustration purposes. Photo: Reitumetse Mahope.

The Johannesburg high court has declared the ‘red fleet tender’ valued at R582,991,957.22 “unlawful and constitutionally invalid”.

The fire engine tender conundrum dates back to 2015.

According to Mashaba, there was a huge demand of fire engines, and the city opted for a deviation process in 2019. This permitted it to award contracts on an emergency basis.

“We faced a serious situation of insufficient fire engines in working condition to keep the residents of Johannesburg.

“The City Manager of Johannesburg initiated an emergency tender process, in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act which exists for precisely this reason – when following the normal time-consuming process could result in loss of life and property,” said Mashaba.

TFM Industries was awarded the tender to supply the city with fire engines, including the purchase of 92 specialised fire and rescue vehicles from TFM.

Things went south as the losing bidders, Marcé Projects and Fire Raiders, interdicted the awarding of the tender.

Marcé, which had bid for the red fleet, claims the city had no emergency that entitled it to deviate from tender processes.

The judgment has revealed that the city’s tender deviation process breached Section 217 of the Constitution and Municipal Supply Chain Management Regulations.

“The process was designed for minor deviations and contracts. The contract price far exceeded the threshold value of R200,000 (inclusive of vat) envisaged in the city’s Supply Chain Management Policy,” reads the judgment.

“The policy requires that all tenders above the threshold be subject to a competitive bid or tender process. A deviation is permissible in exceptional or emergency cases.”

Blame game 

Makhubo said that the judgment is confirmation that Mashaba and his administration were “corrupt and ethically flawed administration whose actions sought to award tenders in the City without adherence to due process and legislation”.

“These illegal, irregular and unconstitutional procurement processes during the DA/EFF led coalition have led to the city accumulating a record R 3, 5 billion in unauthorised, irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure between 2018 and 2020 financial years.”

Mashaba welcomed the judgment, but distanced himself from any wrongdoing. He blamed Makhubo for using the judgment to distract residents from “reality”.

“My multi-party government was trying to solve a life-threatening problem caused by past ANC mismanagement and wrongdoing,” said Mashaba.

“It is clear from the court judgment that the process was not followed correctly. I encourage Makhubo, as I did then, to take the necessary consequence management against officials responsible for not following the required process.”

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In response, Makhubo said: “It has thus been shocking that the Democratic Alliance would have the audacity to accuse this administration of being unresponsive to the fire and rescue needs of the City when its administration mismanaged close to R200 million intended specifically for these same vehicles.”

Judge Siwendu ordered that the fire engines paid for by the City be delivered within 60 days and that the remainder of the order for the remaining vehicles be declared legally invalid, cancelled, and terminated forthwith.

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