Durban - The four Casspirs controversially bought by the eThekwini municipality for R23.8 million will be delivered in November as the city says it can no longer stop the contract as 30% of the amount has already been paid.
The much-awaited report on the saga, which was tabled before the city’s executive committee (Exco) meeting on Wednesday shed some light on the controversial purchase, including the motivation, the make of the vehicles, the procurement processes followed and the payment arrangements between the city and Denel.
It shows that R7.1 million (30%) was paid by the city on June 27 this year, as per the agreement between the two entities that the first payment was to be made after the confirmation of the arrival of the drive trains at Denel.
Another payment of R7.1m will be made on confirmation of the completion of the armoured vehicles, R4.7m (20%) will be paid on inspection of the Casspirs at Denel premises while the remaining R4.7m will be paid when the vehicles are delivered.
“Complete units are expected to be delivered by the second week of November 2017,” states the report.
Mayor Zandile Gumede asked for the report into the matter following outrage over the procurement with opposition parties who have been questioning the reasoning behind the expenditure.
The report shows how the then Metro Police head Eugene Nzama motivated for the purchase of the vehicles on the basis that Denel has closed down its production plant for Nyalas and Mambas.
A letter signed by Nzama, which forms part of the report states that the Nyalas and Mambas would “have been ideal” for the Metro Police department’s operational needs.
Initially the department had wanted to purchase six Nyalas. Nzama further stated in the recommendation that the purchase of Casspirs is supported “as a short term operational strategy to protect our members from getting injured during protest action”.
In the March 2016 recommendation signed by Nzama and the then city manager Sbu Sithole, the motivation given is that suitable vehicles were needed to deal with the escalation of service delivery protests and the elections.
“Due to the escalation of service delivery protests which have turned violent and brutal, it is imperative to increase the capacity for crowd control management on the ground thus exposing our members to more danger as they are facing violent and brutal protesters on a daily basis,” the report reads.
The report prepared for Exco further shows how the municipality bypassed normal tender processes by invoking Section 110 (2) of the Municipal Finance Management Act which states that ordinary tender processes do not have to be followed when a municipality is contracting with another state organ.
While the contract was never put to tender, there was an attempt to get prices from four private companies, some of which quoted units at R6.8 million to R9.2million per unit.
Deputy mayor Fawzia Peer who chaired the Exco meeting yesterday, said the city could not stop or reverse the contracts as some money has already been paid.
She said, however, the Casspirs would be of value as Metro police are increasingly faced with violent protests where cars are pelted with stones by protesters.
She said Exco had noted the report but said “no comment” when asked whether she was satisfied about it.
Opposition parties were not impressed and have called for further investigation.
Zwakele Mncwango, the leader of the DA caucus requested the city manager to investigate the procurement processes, saying there was no justification for why the city did not try to procure from private suppliers.
“Did they check other companies if they make Nyalas or not?. If originally they wanted Nyalas then why didn’t they go to other companies.”
Mncwango said the city had every opportunity to cancel the contract before making the first payment.
“Now they are blaming everything on Nzama when they could have called him to explain when he was still employed by the municipality.”
Mdu Nkosi of the IFP called the report “madness”, saying there are things that were yet to be explained. He said he still wants to see the resolution of council that approved the expenditure.
Attempts to get comment from Nzama were unsuccessful on Wednesday night.