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Cape Town -
The city council has approved R550 million purchase of shares to go towards funding the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) expansion despite uproar from opposition councillors who said they have not seen a forensic investigation’s report into the matter.
On Wednesday the council voted to move R550m from its capital to the operational budget to purchase shares in Convenco, the CTICC’s holding company which would assist with the multimillion- rand expansion set for completion in 2017. The expansion was subject to an investigation by the Public Protector and a forensic investigation initiated by city manager Achmat Ebrahim.
The probes were initiated after Steven Lukey, from SH Lukey and Associates alleged that there were irregularities in the way the Northern Foreshore Development and expansion of the CTICC was handled.
The public protector and the investigation by the council’s forensic department into the R700m design tender had found evidence of maladministration.
The city probe also found irregularities in the way the tender had been awarded.
It was recommended that disciplinary action be taken against three CTICC employees and that the architecture tender be cancelled.
Cape Town deputy mayor Ian Neilson said these actions were for the CTICC board to take and that action had been taken against CTICC staff members.
He added that after careful investigation and consideration, the CTICC board decided not to cancel the architecture tender.
Neilson said: “The motivation that was given in 2010 still stands despite all the issues that have been put in the way of this project. The public protector investigation found that not only was the price for that land appropriate but also that the project itself was viable. This expansion will lead to a gross domestic product contribution of R700m by 2016 and R7.7 billion by 2020.”
He added that more than 1 000 permanent jobs would be created.
ACDP councillor Demi Dudley said: “In 2010 it was tabled that the capex for the project is approximately R2bn, so the question arises, that if the city’s contribution will be R550m and the province’s contribution R170m with investments and loans at about R130m, where is the other R1.15bn coming from?”
Dudley and other councillors asked where the forensic investigation’s report was and why they had not seen it. Neilson said the reports were handed to the public protector and to the CTICC board.
Dudley said he had asked for the forensic auditors’ report twice and was told in writing that he could not have it.
Neilson: “The public protector’s report is available. The report on the investigation the city manager dealt with was given to the public protector, it is up to her to distribute it.”
ANC chief whip Xolani Sotashe said: “I find it very difficult that only some have insight into these reports. ”