KZN Sharks Board in hot water over cancelled security contract
Durban - THE KWAZULU-NATAL Sharks Board is in hot water with a former service provider which was awarded damages after it unilaterally cancelled its contract, resulting in millions of rand in costs for the government entity.
The Sharks Board is now facing the prospect of its furniture, eight vehicles and two boats and trailers being attached and sold on auction by the Sheriff of the Court after Tactical Security Services (TSS) obtained a warrant of execution this week.
TSS earlier won an arbitration award for damages of R725310 after the Sharks Board was found to be in breach of contract, and although it paid this sum, it still owes a further R755260.44 in interest and legal costs.
A source close to the case alleged that the dispute had arisen after the Sharks Board management had accused security guards employed by Tactical Security Services of stealing and not doing their jobs properly.
However, he said that these allegations had arisen after the organisation allegedly fell out with the firm when security guards had insisted that a Sharks Board manager adhere to routine procedures to book in a brand new Land Cruiser when he wanted to use it for business.
“He had bought himself a second-hand Land Cruiser and was caught stealing a gear box. He swopped the gearbox of the brand new vehicle and put in an old one. The guards booked it in and he said we must not book the vehicle,” the source said.
He said when the vehicle went for a service the agents picked up that the gearbox was not an original part.
The guard said that the security firm had apparently hired an investigator to look into the allegations against the security guards, which had proven baseless. Just several months into the firm’s contract, the Sharks Board cancelled it in breach of the service level agreement, and in keeping with a clause in the contract the matter went to arbitration before a senior counsel.
“They then hired another security company and kept the same guards who they said were not doing their jobs,” the source said.
Attorney Ivette Calitz, acting for Tactical Security, said the firm won the matter at arbitration and was awarded R725310 in damages and interest as well as costs.
But when the Sharks Board did not pay up, the matter was set down in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for November 7 last year to have the award made an order of the court.
The Sharks Board eventually paid the R725310 damages on November 4, but failed to pay the interest and legal costs which were awarded.
“Despite various demands and undertakings to pay, there was still no payment from the Sharks Board, forcing TSS to have the costs of arbitration and the high court application formally taxed,” she said.
She said that this was finalised as an order of the Pietermaritzburg High Court in July this year, and that the Sharks Board still had to pay for taxed costs amounting to R755 260.44, which excluded interest and further legal costs that would still have to be added.
A warrant of execution for the attaching of the Sharks Board goods for sale by public auction to realise the sum of R755260.44, was issued by the Pietermaritzburg High Court on August 4.
According to the auction notice, items to be sold included three Toyota Land Cruisers, three Toyota Hiluxes, one Ford Ranger, one Nissan vehicle, two boats, two Yamaha trailers, 18 black leather chairs, an Epson projector, two leather lounge suites and other items.
Sharks Board chief executive Harry Mbambo had not responded to repeated requests for comment at the time of publication.
MEC for Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube said that she had scheduled a meeting with the Sharks Board “to discuss issues of governance” and to “help ensure the stability of this important entity” today.
“We will also look into the whole programme focusing on the maritime industry and the protection of our tourists/swimmers along our beaches.
“I have also been informed that this matter involving the auctioning of Sharks Board assets has been resolved following involvement of a legal team from the department,” Dube-Ncube added.