Samwu to denounce move to appeal case against officials linked to R295m Rooiwal tender

Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu and City of Tshwane Mayor Cilliers Brink during an inspection of the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works. File: Oupa Mokena / Independent Newspapers

Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu and City of Tshwane Mayor Cilliers Brink during an inspection of the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works. File: Oupa Mokena / Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 23, 2024


The SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) is expected to publicly denounce the City of Tshwane’s stance to appeal the outcomes of a municipality’s internal disciplinary process involving five senior officials implicated in the R295 million tender for refurbishing Rooiwal wastewater treatment plant.

The “Pretoria News” was reliably told that the union is in the process of formalising its position on the matter after the City announced the suspension of officials on Saturday.

The labour union will, during the course of this week, cite reasons for opposing the City’s decision to review the entire outcomes of a year-long internal disciplinary process at the Labour Court.

Municipal spokesperson Selby Bokaba said the officials were found guilty on one of the four charges they faced, and the disciplinary board chairperson recommended a sanction of suspension for one month without pay.

He said the City was disappointed, disagreed with the findings and sought legal opinion, which suggested that the five implicated officials ought to have been dismissed on the finding of guilt of the fourth charge.

The charge suggested that officials evaluated the winning bidder on a 1,4m belt presses width, when the specification required a 2m width.

Bokaba said: “The City strenuously disagrees with the outcome of the disciplinary process and has resolved to appeal the entire outcome of the disciplinary process at the Labour Court.”

The controversial contract for Rooiwal was awarded to NJR Projects and Blackhead Consulting, companies linked to businessman Edwin Sodi, to upgrade Rooiwal as part of Phase 1 in 2019.

The City terminated the contract following significant problems and delays with the quality of the work on the site due to continuous stalling of Phase 1 of the project in August 2022.

Other charges faced by officials included allowing Blackhead Consulting to progress to the next stage of the evaluation without being registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIBD), and also without having the required CIDB 9CE or 9ME, and consensus-based decision-making instead of evaluating independently as members of the bid evaluation committee.

The third charge was the inclusion of Blackhead Consulting services to render professional services in the circumstances where the city had already appointed a company to render professional services. Consequently, the city incurred costs of R10 999 786.96.

Bokaba said City manager Johann Mettler decided to suspend the employees on full pay, pending a review of the ruling “in light of the nature and severity of the charges, together with the fact that the trust relationship has broken down irretrievably”.

“The officials are senior employees of the municipality and the majority of them on the BEC are engineers and ought to have applied themselves properly when evaluating the tender regarding the belt pressers”, Mettler said.

ActionSA in Tshwane said it welcomed Mettler’s decision to place the five municipal officials on precautionary suspension.

“This move signifies a crucial step towards holding those responsible for the irregularities in the Rooiwal tender accountable. ActionSA has been persistent in seeking justice for this matter, including submitting a motion for a forensic investigation and providing the findings to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) for further scrutiny,” the party said.

The SIU is in the process of investigating companies linked to Sodi based on allegations of maladministration and corruption in awarding of the Rooiwal tender.

Pretoria News