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Cape Town -
Computers in the City of Cape Town’s tourism and events directorate have been seized as the city launches a forensic investigation into tender irregularities and mismanagement.
Political and administrative sources within the city council told the Cape Argus that the laptops of various staff, including that of Grant Pascoe, mayoral committee member for tourism, had been removed as part of the probe.
The investigation follows a Cape Argus article last week about tensions in the tourism directorate following the last-minute cancellation of a branding and marketing tender.
The three-year contract was for the marketing of the city at events such as the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
Although the tender has not officially been cancelled, correspondence seen by the Argus showed that officials were instructed by the city manager’s office to stop evaluating the tender “with immediate effect”. Officials expressed concern at the unexpected cancellation of a tender that was about to be awarded.
One official threatened to step down from the adjudication committee because of his doubts about the tender process.
The city has confirmed that an investigation is being undertaken in the directorate but has refused to provide details of whether computers were seized, and why.
There is also no mention of whether there will be a forensic report, and when this information would be released.
Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said: “It would be improper to divulge any further information at this stage as it could compromise the investigation and any action that may arise from that investigation.”
It is understood that the investigation will be discussed in Wednesday’s council meeting, but on the confidential “green” agenda that is not available to the public or the media.
However, answers to earlier questions about the tender’s cancellation point to a directorate that is at odds with the city’s own policies. The city has said that the directorate “initiated a tender that did not take full cognisance of the broader city deliverables that were required”.
Furthermore, this tender was issued “without an approved policy or strategy in place”, said city spokesperson Priya Reddy.
“It must be noted that tourism, events and marketing is only responsible for place marketing, which in turn needs to be informed by the corporate brand strategy of the City of Cape Town.”