There’s a race to capture municipalities because they have a lot of money at their disposal, according to MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Fikile Xasa.
He said this after delivering a report on forensic investigations in the Amathole District Municipality on the Siyenza sanitation project. The report recommends disciplinary action and criminal charges against certain government and municipal officials. Findings were that among other defects, 27 toilets in one area had collapsed, and toilets had been paid for that hadn’t been built.
Xasa presented the report to the ADM Council on 12 October 2017. The report was commissioned by the National Treasury after a call from an anti-corruption hotline, according to a media statement from Cogta Eastern Cape Corporate Communications.
“The tabling of the report to the municipality places a responsibility on the municipality to engage with the report and take appropriate action in implementing it and report to Cogta and National Treasury,” the statement says.
The ADM investigation was commissioned by the National Treasury following allegations made by an anonymous whistle blower that:
* Millions of rands were paid to Blue Nightingale Trading 397 (Pty) LTD trading as Siyenza Group for a sanitation project.
* There was under-delivery of toilets erected on sites and some toilets were collapsing due to poor quality of work, and
* The project was due to be completed in June 2015, but to date it is still incomplete.
The investigation included the following areas:
* Establish the source of funding for the project and verify if all the required procedures were followed;
* Establish the contractual agreements between ADM and Siyenza and the value of the project.
* Verify whether there was value for money to the State for services provided by Siyenza until the termination of services, and
* Establish the value of overstatement paid to the service provider for possible recovery.
In Great Kei local municipality the investigation found that the number of VIP structures per schedule of confirmation letters were more than the toilets that had been physically verified.
During inspection in Great Kei the following defects were also noted:
* Twenty seven (27) toilets throughout the twenty nine (29) sites in Qolweni village have collapsed.
* In Ncalukeni toilets are without doors.
* Material is left in open spaces.
* Toilets had cracked walls.
* Number of toilets without ventilation pipes and others built on short foundations.
The report has made recommendations for disciplinary action and criminal charges against certain government and municipal officials for various reasons including:
* Failure to comply with the provisions of Regulation 32 on the appointment of Siyenza on the VIP sanitation projects.
* Contravention of Section 217 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa by entering into an agreement with Siyenza without following the provisions of Regulation 32.
* Acting negligently by committing the municipality to a contract with Siyenza without following proper procurement processes.
* Failure to disclose in the meeting between ADM and the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA) that the ADM had requested to use Regulation 32 to appoint a service provider to implement the VIP sanitation project.
The report also recommended that the National Treasury and Cogta consider aligning the Section 8 (5) Division of Revenue Act (Dora) and the Municipal Infrastructure Grant.
Xasa said there is a “seeming contestation to capture municipalities” because they have a lot of money at their disposal. “Government must do something to counter all such attempts in the interest good governance, sound financial management and sustainable service delivery,” said Xasa.