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HIGH-ranking Pikitup officials, former board members and employees face disciplinary action over irregularities in the awarding of tenders for city cleaning.
The City of Joburg’s member of the mayoral committee responsible for the Environment, Infrastructure and Services Department, Matshidiso Mfikoe, announced recently that forensic audits revealed prima facie evidence of the irregularities.
This supports accusations by the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), who downed tools in April last year, claiming that corruption and nepotism was at play in Pikitup.
At the time, former managing director Zami Nkosi and nine board members stepped down.
Mfikoe said it was found that certain contracts had been awarded in contravention of legislation and Pikitup’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) policy.
Both the city’s Risk and Audit Services and independent auditors Ernest & Young confirmed irregularities.
Pikitup’s interim board appointed Ernst & Young in June 2011 to conduct an in-depth forensic audit into corruption allegations, following the union’s allegations against Nkosi and board members.
The main objective of the audits, Mfikoe said, was to establish whether the awarding of tenders and the extension of contracts to service providers during the tenure of the previous board were in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
Ernst & Young found there were several high-ranking officials who appear to have “unfortunately misused their position to influence the awarding of tenders and the extension of contracts. Such activities have exposed Pikitup to risks of corruption and may have been motivated by personal interests.”
Mfikoe said: “These are sensitive matters that should be put through the normal management processes of Pikitup, fully cognisant of the prevailing labour legislations and contracts of employment. The Labour Relations Act is the guiding legislation and dictates that matters of this nature be dealt with, with absolute confidentiality.”
The reports identified irregularities in relation to 11 separate matters, among others: the provision of fleet and waste collection service and fleet re-engineering; street cleaning in the inner city; certain internal technology solutions; the provision of refuse removal and ancillary service for illegal dumping; and the provision, operation and maintenance of plants and equipment.
The board has directed its new managing director, Amanda Nair, to act swiftly and implement the recommendations of the report with urgency while ensuring that all due processes are complied with.
“We will leave no stone unturned in rooting out corrupt officials and practices. This revelation is in keeping within the context of the mayor Parks Tau’s anti-corruption measures in zero tolerance approach towards corruption in the city and its municipal entities,” Mfikoe said.
Samwu said it was in the process of taking Pikitup to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) over an agreement signed to abolish labour brokers and improve working conditions.
“We will continue to engage the leadership of the ANC in the Joburg region under the leadership of mayor Parks Tau, to help foster better relations in municipal-owned entities and the City of Joburg,” said Samwu’s Menzi Luthuli.