The affordable education loan option
Pretoria - Tshwane’s executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and city manager Jason Ngobeni may soon face a charge of contempt of court for not complying with an order granted by the Pretoria High Court.
In September last year, Victor Mashimbye, managing director of Trigger Reaction Security Services, sought a high court order against the City of Tshwane for unlawfully terminating his company’s three-year contract to provide security services to the metro.
Mashimbye said they would be filing charges of contempt of court against the mayor and city manager. “We provided security to key areas such as the mayor and speaker of council's offices.”
Trigger Reaction held the contract for 16 months before the city terminated it on the grounds that it did not know Trigger Reaction had bought the contract from another security company, Gondo Security Services.
Trigger Reaction bought the contract, valued at R60 million over the three-year period, from Gondo Security Services and the City of Tshwane claimed it was not aware of the transaction and also had not approved it.
The city opposed Trigger Reaction’s court application on the grounds it did not know of the transaction.
Judge Viviene Tlhapi ruled the city was aware of the transaction and he granted the order to have Trigger Reaction reinstated.
The city appealed against the order at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein in January, but it was turned down on July 1 and the original court order was reinstated with costs.
“They (the City of Tshwane) have undermined the court since day one,” Mashimbye said of the city’s alleged refusal to reinstate Trigger Reaction.
City of Tshwane spokesman Blessing Manale, however, labelled Trigger Reaction’s services “substandard”, saying there had been numerous incidents of crime under its watch. This was why the contract had been terminated, he said. Nevertheless, the city had invited Trigger Reaction back subject to certain conditions.
“The city does not regard itself to be in contempt of court. We have since the judgment advised Trigger Reaction to return to site for the remainder of the contract. That was of course if they met the minimum requirements to provide security services,” Manale said.
Manale sent the Pretoria News proof that Trigger Reaction had been registered with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority since 2008, but it had not registered employees listed on its registration certificate.
A letter to Trigger Reaction from the city’s legal representatives said the company could be reinstated if its employees were registered with the regulator.
“The City of Tshwane suffered a spate of thefts in buildings and offices they (Trigger Reaction) were guarding. It is our understanding that getting rid of Trigger Reaction was in the interest of securing our assets,” Manale said.
The city had not complied with the order and had engaged two new contractors, Hotline Security and Mabotwane Security, to provide security services to the metro, Mashimbye said.
These two companies charged R500 000 more a month to provide the same services as Trigger Reaction had, he added.
Manale said the city would not settle for below-average services just because Trigger Reaction provided security at a cheaper rate.
The legal battle has cost Trigger Reaction almost R1 million and its almost 300 employees remain out of work.
Mashimbye said the company was prepared to take the matter to the public protector, the Auditor-General and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
“We have instructed our attorney to go ahead and put procedures in place,” he said.
The company is also taking legal action against the city for lost income over the past 13 months.
It is willing to settle the matter out of court, but the city has declined to do so.
“They are spending taxpayers’ money to go the legal route, but we had no other avenue except to go to court,” Mashimbye said.
Manale said: “We will defend our actions.”
TG Motseto Attorneys Incorporated, acting on behalf of Mashimbye, said in a letter to the city that it “was trying all sorts of gymnastics to avoid implementing the order”.