Pretoria - ActionSA has, using the Promotion of Access to Information Act, successfully applied to force the City of Tshwane to release documents related to the multimillion-rand tender for refurbishing Rooiwal wastewater treatment works.
The documents, according to the political party, are expected to shed light on allegations of irregularities linked to the tender valued at R295 million.
ActionSA was, however, not yet in a position to release the documents to the public yesterday as it has not yet read them, according to provincial spokeperson Nkele Molapo.
In a statement, ActionSA head Herman Mashaba confirmed having access to documents relating to alleged irregularities in the Rooiwal plant tender.
The plant has been identified as the source of the problem of dirty water consumed by people in Hammanskraal township.
Mashaba said the contract in question was awarded through a joint venture involving Blackhead Consulting, owned by businessman Edwin Sodi.
“Mr Sodi is notorious for his appearance at the State Capture Commission of Inquiry due to his alleged involvement in the Free State’s asbestos scandal.
“Most recently, Sodi has been fingered in yet another R44m tender scandal in the City of Joburg, involving the preparation of conditional assessments for hostels in the City,” he said.
Efforts to obtain comment from Sodi this week were unsuccessful as his cellphone number was said to be out-of-service. Detailed questions sent to him via SMS also went unanswered.
Calling for Sodi’s involvement with the City to be scrutinised, Mashaba said: “Despite the City of Tshwane’s efforts to evade transparency by frustrating access to these documents, the people of Hammanskraal’s demand for accountability could not be denied.
“Through the act, ActionSA was able to apply for the City of Tshwane to be forced into transparency.”
He said the party would “scrutinise the tender documents to ensure that those responsible for service delivery failure to this community are held to account”.
He attributed the undrinkable water in Hammanskraal to corruption and rampant mismanagement.
“The handover of these documents also follows a three-day commission of inquiry, instituted by ActionSA and led by an independent panel, into the unsafe poor water quality in Hammanskraal.”
Tshwane chief of staff Jordan Griffiths said many of the documents requested by ActionSA were already in the public domain, especially after a previous court case on the matter in 2019.
He said the City suggested the party familiarise itself with the court papers in order to access the information it was looking for regarding the tender.
Griffiths said when the matter was ventilated in court, ActionSA provincial co-ordinator Abel Tau was the City’s utility services MMC.
“I suggested that they could merely ask him for details of the tender and the tender documents, because he was well versed with the decisions taking place at that time with the City. He was the MMC for utility services,” said Griffiths.
Griffiths said it would be “interesting to see what Mashaba does with the information, but much of it is being ventilated publicly already”.