THE City is in a legal dispute with a desalination plant managing company over a contractual matter. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - A court date has yet to be set in the legal fight between the City and a desalination plant managing company, Quality Filtration Services (QFS).

The company is hauling the City to court over a contractual dispute.

The director of QFS, Musa Ndlovu, said: “QFS submitted discovery documents to the courts last month.

“But the City of Cape Town has delayed their submission of discovery documents. A hearing date has not been set for the case,” Ndlovu said.

The company intends to sue the City for the outstanding amount of R20million, 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 council was now blocking the mediation report from being made public.

Reports said 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, but has been dormant this month.

Ndlovu said their troubles at the plant had worsened because the City switched off the electricity on the desalination site in December.

“The electrical account has been in dispute from April 1, 2019, as there was no electrical meter number or KW/h units consumed reflected on the bill. An electrical bill addressing these issues was received only on December 27, after the electricity was switched off,” she said.

“QFS is assessing the damage caused to the desalination equipment,” Ndlovu said.

The City’s Luthando Tyhalibongo said: “QFS terminated the contract with the City on May 7, 2019.

“The dispute is still pending in the Western Cape High Court. The only engagement between the City and the company is the formal exchange of legal documents and correspondence via respective legal representatives.”

Tyhalibongo said the company did not provide water to specific areas.

“The water was fed into the City’s general reticulation network. The QFS plant at the Waterfront can deliver 2 million litres of water per day to the City’s network, which is 0.28% of the City’s water requirement,” he said.

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Cape Argus