Durban - Despite complaints from opposition parties, controversial businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane’s company has, been awarded yet another major housing contract - this time for R255.6 million.
Mpisane’s Zikhulise Cleaning Maintenance and Transport was among five companies awarded contracts to work on the Umlazi Housing Project phase 1, through Section 36 - an emergency tender process. The award was made in March, with her company getting the lion’s share of the tender.
Zikhulise is widely known for landing the biggest housing tenders from the municipality over the years.
A report tabled before the finance and procurement committee meeting on Wednesday revealed that although the work appeared to be for the same area, the other companies would be paid far less. Ilisu Consulting Engineers was awarded R3m, BVI Consulting Engineers R8m, Amehlo Esizwe R4m and Ngwekazi Contractors R1.7m.
There was no description of what work would be done by the companies, apart from a note from the bid adjudication committee saying that it was “impractical” to follow official procurement processes owing to the urgent need for service. The number of housing units to be built was not included.
DA councillor Zwakele Mncwango said the reason given for awarding the contract through Section 36 was not valid.
“It makes absolutely no sense how Mpisane is constantly awarded multimillion-rand projects by the city without competing fairly with other businesspeople,” he said.
Mncwango said he had written to the office of the public protector calling for an investigation into Mpisane and her dealings with the city.
DA councillor Tex Collins said that it seemed as though Section 36 had become a “halfway” house for the municipality. He noted that Zikhulise had been used by the city numerous times, despite reports of shoddy workmanship.
“Unfortunately for this municipality, it took a mall collapse for them to realise that they were giving the wrong company the work. Why Section 36; was it really important?” he asked.
NFP councillor Wiseman Mcoyi said the municipality needed to explain the excessive use of Section 36.