The City of Johannesburg Council during a Special Council Meeting at the council chamber, metro centre in Braamfontein. Photo: Matthews Baloyi

Johannesburg - For Joburg residents who have an axe to grind with their councillors and officials, karma has taken its natural course.

They are mostly being fed contaminated food at the Metro Centre and at any outside functions catered for by food companies appointed by the City of Joburg.

In the city’s quarterly reports for January to March, it has been revealed that 11 of the 24 catering companies used by the city for the canteen and official functions, failed environmental health tests. The city employs some 30 000 members of staff, who at some stage, eat the food.

Food samples from these catering companies tested positive for bacteria.

The city’s department of environmental health uses the following criteria in testing food samples: the use of unsafe food, or food containing bacteria; preparing food in an unhygienic manner; not storing food at correct temperatures; and a lack of personal hygiene or the safe disposal of refuse. The 11 companies all failed on one or more of these criteria.

Councillor Inneth Mbatha, DA spokesman for corporate and shared services - which is the city department charged with appointing and managing suppliers - said she was shocked at the revelations. “What shocks me the most is not just that city officials and their guests could be poisoned, but rather that the city doesn’t play by its own rules.”

Mbatha demanded to know how such caterers found themselves on the suppliers list in the first place, and expressed grave concern about the example the council was setting for the rest of the city.

“If the administration can’t even run it’s own affairs correctly, what does it say of how they are running the city?”

Another shocking figure released in the health department’s quarterly report shows that of 11 902 out of a total of 13 746 formal food premises inspected for compliance to food safety regulations only 5 667 were found to be compliant.

Of 3 472 informal food premises inspected, a total of 2 820 were found to be compliant.

City member of the mayoral committee for corporate and shared services Molly Mokoena said health was of great concern to the city, and to herself, but the appointment of caterers was done by the supply chain management unit.

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The Star