Buses stand idle as council set to adopt Bowmans report
Eleven buses have already been delivered at a cost of R128million, but they are standing idle at a bus depot.
Law firm Bowmans, previously Bowman Gilfillan, was tasked with probing allegations of maladministration and corruption in the City. It found that mayor Patricia de Lille blocked former city manager Achmat Ebrahim from reporting corruption involving MyCiti buses to council.
Bowmans therefore recommended that criminal charges be pursued against De Lille, Mayco member for transport and urban development Brett Herron, and other officials. However, a second report by the law firm cleared De Lille of any wrongdoing.
But the report recommending action against De Lille is centred around suspended transport commissioner Melissa Whitehead, who was involved in the corruption involving a R286m tender for electric buses that involved Chinese bus manufacturer BYD and the provision of Volvo bus chassis worth about R43m.
At council last week, it was resolved that the report by Bowmans be adopted. This means that matters or officials and/or service providers be reported to the police for investigation.
The city manager also authorised the process.
Any councillors involved will be the responsibility of council speaker Dirk Smit, who was authorised to report the matters to the police.
Council also recommended that Mbandazayo be authorised to seek legal advice on potential action against BYD and report back.
Mbandazayo has been authorised to cancel the contract between the City and BYD with immediate effect. The request was made by ANC councillor Daliwonga Badela, given the findings in the report.
After extensive debate, council agreed that Badela’s amendment be adopted. It was supported by DA councillor Marian Nieuwoudt.
The Bowmans probe started in December last year and they submitted their initial report in early January.
Whitehead did not respond to messages asking for comment.
But De Lille will be taking legal action.
“There have been so many procedural mistakes in the report,” she said. “One of the reports clears me and the other one says that I must be criminally charged for various reasons. Now I don’t understand that there are two reports. How does one even start to explain anything about this?” De Lille is heading to court either today or tomorrow to file an urgent application to set aside the reports.
“This is the route I am taking to again clear my name,” she said.@JasonFelix