This follows the decision by 12 contractors in the recycling programme to stop collecting recyclables because of the city’s failure to provide the bags.
“I’m extremely embarrassed because it is the city’s tardiness in resolving the scandal around the R90million tender which was found to be irregular. With the contracted companies bringing everything to a halt, unfortunately the recyclables will be thrown away and this will work against job creation,” said the official.
In February, a forensic investigation into the awarding of the R90m tender to buy the bags found irregularities in the procurement process.
In May, the Sunday Tribune reported that the Hawks’ commercial crime unit had launched a probe into Durban Solid Waste for the tender. At the time, Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo reportedly said the investigation was still in its infancy.
Vincent Mthembu, spokesperson for the contractors, said: “eThekwini metro has been recognised for advances made in greening the environment and the orange bag recycling programme is an integral part of this. In one of our numerous engagements with the city, we were promised that the bags would be made available on October 15.”
Mthembu, who employs 162 people and has 35 trucks, said the contractors employed about 500 people. He said the group was considering suing the city for loss of income.
The contractors’ areas of operation include Westville North, uMlazi, Phoenix, Durban Central, Mount Edgecombe and parts of uMhlanga.
The city had not given them any explanation for why the bags were not available from October 15.
The DA said the city had no political will to resolve the issue. “What’s the point of playing a role on the global stage while on the ground, things are falling apart with regards to the promotion of a green environment?” eThekwini leader Nicole Graham asked.
The city’s acting head of communications, Mandla Nsele, said the recycling programme was still running, but acknowledged there was a challenge in the supply of orange bags.
“This is due to delays in the procurement processes. Cleansing and Solid Waste is awaiting finalisation of the supply chain management process, prior to commencement of the orange bag supply to the residences,” he said.
He said residents would be informed once the bags were available.
The case involving irregularities has been handed over to the Financial Misconduct Committee, he said.