Desalination plant service provider to drag City of Cape Town to court

The desalination plant at the V&A Waterfront. Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)

The desalination plant at the V&A Waterfront. Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 17, 2019


Cape Town - A court battle is looming between the City and the service provider of the desalination plant at the V&A Waterfront.

Quality Filtration Systems (QFS) has announced plans to drag the City to court over outstanding payments totalling R20million.

“We are suing the City of Cape Town since they are in breach of contract and have not made payments required within the contract. The original contract was valued at R53m, only R1.7m has been paid so far and we are owed over R20m to date,” said Herman Smit, managing director of QFS.

He said there are a number of disputes that remain unresolved.

“We had to appeal to the high court to ensure the city met us for mediation to try to negotiate the payment of the contract. We were in mediation for five days with five attorneys and one advocate, and we reached no solution at the end of the period. Mediation was concluded on April8 this year.

“The city has not validated any reason for non-payment,” Smit said.

QFS was contracted in January last year to provide one of three desalination plants to provide fresh drinking water using a reverse osmosis sea water desalination plant. These plants were developed in the city’s bid to beat Day Zero.

The company then entered into mediation with the City for five days. No consensus was reached. The mediation process ended last week on Monday. According to the company, the City is now blocking the mediation report from being made public.

According to Musa Ndlovu, engineer and director at QFS, more than 181000kl of water, within the standard specification of SA National Standard 241 part 1, has been injected into the city’s network by the QFS plant.

“The city has sold this water on at an augmented price but has to date only paid QFS R1.7m. The city is now claiming that the water that it wilfully sold on at a premium rate was not to specification. We understand that desalination is no longer considered a viable water augmentation solution for the city. The city appears to view this as a reason not to honour existing contracts,” she said.

Mayoral committee member for Water and Waste Xanthea Limberg said: “The city is willing to pay the amount certified by the city’s engineer, and disputes the current invoice amounts being claimed. There is no mediation report as claimed by QFS.”

She said Cape Town would continue to rely on rain-fed dams for most of its water, which was much cheaper than alternative water sources.

“But new surface water resources are limited. In future a greater proportion of Cape Town’s water demand will be met from alternative sources, including desalination,” Limberg said.


Related Topics:

City of Cape Town