Managers at the desalination plant at the Waterfront intend to continue with litigation against the City due to the lack of progress in reaching a settlement. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency
Cape Town - Managers at the desalination plant at the Waterfront intend to continue with litigation against the City due to the lack of progress in reaching a settlement.

Quality Filtration Services (QFS) is dragging the City to court, seeking over R20million in damages after contractual disputes.

The director of QFS, Musa Ndlovu, said: “In response to our papers submitted to the high court in July, the City of Cape Town responded with a plea on August 12.

"As you know, the City and QFS did participate in mediation earlier this year, but were not able to reach an agreement. The City should give their response to this,” Ndlovu said.

The company intends to sue the City for the outstanding amount of R20m, as well as the damages incurred during the 13 months of the dispute.

QFS was contracted last year to build one of three desalination plants to provide fresh drinking water.

The company then entered into mediation with the City for five days, but no consensus was reached.

The mediation process ended in April and according to the company the City council was now blocking the mediation report from being made public.

According to reports, the plant could not produce desalinated water at times due to turbidity and algae blooms, which were natural occurrences. Turbidity refers to the degree that water loses its transparency due to the presence of suspected particles. The plant began producing water at the end of May last year, but has been dormant since January.

“QFS stepped forward in the midst of Day Zero in an attempt to assist the City with fighting the worst drought in over 100 years. We would like to see a favourable and speedy resolution to this issue,” she said.

Spokesperson for the City Luthando Tyhalibongo said the matter is pending before the Western Cape High Court.

“There was a mediation process undertaken by mutual agreement. The disputes raised by QFS were specifically addressed during the mediation process which commenced on January 28, 2019. The company opted to withdraw and suspend the supply of water to the City at the end of January, which resulted in no further payments being processed,” he said.

Tyhalibongo said the City verified with Two Oceans Aquarium that its sea water intake points, close to that of QFS, had recorded excellent quality water consistently for over 20 years.

“This would not be possible if there was sewage contamination, as stated by QFS. Information in this regard can be obtained directly from them,” he added.

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Cape Argus