The company that won a tender to produce millions of orange recycling bags for eThekwini Municipality was incapable of producing the product, had underquoted and regularly missed its deadlines, an investigation has found.

Durban - In keeping with an undertaking he made to turn the tide of corruption, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced he had authorised the Special Investigating Unit to investigate suspected wrongdoing in the awarding of tenders. 

During his state of the nation address, Ramaphosa said “this is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions”.

Regarding eThekwini Municipality, the SIU has been authorised to investigate the allegedly irregular award of a tender for the supply to the municipality of waste recycling bags. This investigation will look into alleged fraudulent and any related unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure, underperformance or non-performance by contractors, and the conduct of directors of the company or companies involved in this tender.

The Mercury reported in February that a  forensic investigation into the awarding of the R90m contract to supply orange recycling bags to the city, had been found to be fraught with irregularities during the tender process.  The award was made to a company which lacked experience and the technical knowledge, the report found.

The investigators' report, which was leaked to The Mercury at the time, found that Persian Star Investments 11 CC  was "wrongly awarded this tender" based on misrepresentations it made in terms of its capacity to handle the massive contract.

The company continuously failed to meet its end of the deal, resulting in the city running out of recycle bags.

Upon it's introduction 10 years ago, the orange bag programme has won several awards for its initiative to promote recycling to reduce waste at landfills and promote the separation of waste at source.

President Cyril Ramaphosa
Meanwhile, the SIU will investigate the national Department of Water and Sanitation for alleged serious maladministration and unlawful expenditure of public money in the procurement or contracting of information technology services from the enterprise software provider SAP SE (SAP).

Government also confirmed that The Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA) would also be investigated for alleged maladministration, in relation to the allocation of discretionary grant funding to a number of companies.

Ramaphosa also made it clear in the State of the Nation Address that the commission of inquiry into state capture headed by Deputy Chief Justice Judge Raymond Zondo, would not displace the regular work of the country’s law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting any, and all acts of corruption.

The investigation will focus on a period between January 2015 and the present, although unlawful or improper conduct prior to January 2015 that is deemed relevant to this matter would be taken into account.

The company that won a tender to produce millions of orange recycling bags for eThekwini Municipality was incapable of producing the product, had underquoted and regularly missed its deadlines, an investigation has found.

DAILY NEWS