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SIU set to probe ‘dodgy’ R94m payment in Rooiwal wastewater plant contract

The Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

The Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 28, 2022

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Pretoria - The first phase of a R2 billion contract to refurbish the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant in the City of Tshwane might soon be a subject of investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

This followed revelations that the Tshwane Metro made a payment of R94.1 million in advance to a contractor before work at the plant could start.

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ActionSA’s caucus leader in the council, Anniruth Kissoonduth, said the looming probe into the tender followed a radio interview, in which SIU head advocate Andy Mothibi confirmed the law enforcement agency’s interest in investigating the matter pertaining to the suspicious payment.

At the time of publication, SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago could neither deny nor confirm claims that the crime-busting unit would soon undertake an investigation into the contract.

The Pretoria News reported recently that the contractor had dumped the project following a contractual fallout with the metro. At the time, Tshwane chief of staff Jordan Griffiths said: “The City has placed the contractor on terms as we have not been happy with their performance, either they must cede or we might terminate the contract.”

The contractor opted to vacate the construction site at the time when mayor Randall Williams was preparing to release a much-anticipated report into allegations of tender irregularities of the contract’s first phase.

In March, finance MMC Peter Sutton said: “This contract was previously challenged in court, but successfully defended. Should our formal investigation identify irregularities, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”

Kissoonduth recently questioned the delay by Williams to table a report into allegations of tender irregularities in the council, suggesting that the matter was not treated seriously by the mayor.

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The report was commissioned following concerns raised about the supply chain processes for phase 1 tendering and the probe was expected to be completed within 90 days from March 31, 2022.

Last week, Griffiths dismissed suggestions that Williams was not taking the “matter seriously”, saying the mayor “requested an external investigator to look into the tender, which triggered a supply chain process causing a delay on the report”.

Kissoonduth said: “The head of the SIU was heard on radio, confirming their interest in investigating the payment of R94.1m by the City of Tshwane in advance to the contractor where impropriety is alleged.”

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He said his party visited the plant on Friday to witness “first-hand what progress, if any, had been made. “Very little progress has been made since January 2022. Also, the contractors are no longer on site”.

Mayoral spokesperson Sipho Stuurman said: “The SIU has not indicated to the City that it is conducting any investigation. Should they contact us, we will gladly co-operate. The City did not make an advance payment of R94.1m. It would be welcomed if ActionSA has proof of such a payment or irregularity.”

Pretoria News

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