The V&A Waterfront Desalination Plant. All three Cape Town desalination plants are now online and producing a collective eight million litres of water a day. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency
Cape Town - Quality Filtration Systems (QFS) has said it was not backing down from taking on the City of Cape Town in connection with contractual disputes over its desalination plants.

“Our tender to provide one of three desalinations plants in Cape Town was submitted based on the water quality supplied by the City. On testing the water in early 2018, we highlighted the problems with raw feed water studies numerous times,” said Herman Smit, managing director of QFS.

“As a local SME (small and medium- sized enterprise), who came forward during Day Zero to assist with the water crisis. We feel taken advantage of by the City, which is using its financial and legal power to silence us,” he said.

He said the company would continue with the legal process and sue the City for the outstanding amount of R20million, as well as the damages incurred during the 13 months of the dispute.

In April, QFS said it had uncovered information that the City was aware of the same contamination in the seawater in 2017, but neglected to divulge this information during the tender processes. The company said a report by the University of the Western Cape’s Professor Leslie Petrik outlined the issues, which had led directly to the dispute with the City. According to QFS, the City is blocking the mediation report from being made public.

Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste Xanthea Limberg said: “Between May 2018 and January 2019 QFS were unable to fully comply with their obligations in terms of the contract. This led to various contractual disputes with the supplier, which culminated in the institution of a mediation process in January. It is now public knowledge that the confidential mediation process failed to resolve the various disputes. In terms of the mediation agreement, there was no mediation report required.”

Limberg said the City was taking legal advice on the way forward.

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Cape Argus