City officials defend delays in authorising tenders
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Durban: City officials in the eThekwini Municipality have defended their reluctance to sign documents authorising some of the city’s projects, citing questionable tenders in which politicians were sometimes alleged to be involved.
While service delivery was an important instrument and social contract to create social inclusion and raise the living standards of the poor majority previously excluded by the apartheid government, officials were concerned about elements of corruption by politicians pressurising them to authorise big-budget projects.
This comes after Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda lambasted municipal officials during last week’s Executive Committee’s audit matters workshop held at Moses Mabhida stadium.
Kaunda raised his dissatisfaction over the delay in authorising some projects meant to bring about service delivery in the city.
Kaunda said it was worrying that some senior officials were not working together to finalise tender documents for the procurement of gas at the Mobeni Heights crematorium.
He also said that the procurement of gas must be improved so that there were no delays.
Should delays continue, he said, families would not be able to bury their loved ones because the government was failing to do its work.
In February, the crematorium was opened. However, it had to close within hours owing to problems.
It reopened for a few weeks but closed again on March 25 because the city had not secured gas.
At the time, Kaunda convened a special meeting where he gave an instruction that the crematorium start its operations as soon as possible.
A source said that while Kaunda raised important matters affecting the city, some officials might not be deliberately stalling the process but were trying to ensure that all procurement processes were followed.
“We must ensure that all the people get the best service delivery, and we must also ensure that officials are helping the city to bring those services to the people. It is important that procurement rules are not tampered with by officials, hence sometimes processes take longer than expected. This is because we must verify and ensure that we adhere to the auditor-general’s recommendations,” said the source.
DA and Exco member Thabani Mthethwa said it was unacceptable to have officials who were doing everything to delay service delivery. He said the crematorium was an essential service.
“We cannot have mourning families subjected to sub-standard services because some officials cannot do their jobs properly.”
IFP and Exco member Mdu Nkosi said the city must respect residents who were directly affected by the failure by officials to do their work.
“We call for essential services to be prioritised and those responsible must account when services fail to reach the people. We can’t allow any delay of services,” he said.