Tshwane's R18bn land assets tender row
The official opposition in the metro berated the DA-led administration for disregarding the law in awarding the contract to Aurecon South Africa.
Regional chairperson Dr Kgosi Maepa said the ANC was in possession of documents showing that Zania Lambert, who was deputy director of the municipal property division, colluded with property divisional head Verusha Morgan to “fix a deal”.
Lambert, who is now a sub-contractor on behalf of Aurecon, was awarded the contract signed off by Morgan, according to the ANC.
The contract for the implementation of a public sector property services was valued at R14.6 million.
Maepa said: “The motivation for the City to get a service provider was made by both Ms Zania Lambert and signed by Ms Verusha Morgan on February 18, 2018. The value indicated by Ms Verusha Morgan in her signed motivation report for the total assets (property and land) is R10bn.
“We know this is not true in fact the conservative market value is above R18bn of total assets belonging to the City.”
He claimed the service level agreement was signed on August 24 by Aurecon, but a payment of R6.4 m was made upfront to the company before the deal was signed.
“This is in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act,” Maepa said.
The ANC would lay charges with the Hawks via the SAPS after it had consulted with its attorneys.
The party would also take evidence to the public protector and the National Prosecuting Authority’s panel of judges appointed by the president to deal with corruption-related activities in government.
“We demand that the acting city manager suspends Ms Verusha Morgan with immediate effect. We also request the office of the Auditor-General of South Africa to come in immediately and audit,” Maepa said.
Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa said Aurecon was appointed in April 2018 to advise which of its 52000 properties must be developed. He confirmed that the contract was valued at R14m.
According to him, the Bid Adjudication Committee approved the use of a panel for a request for quotes of required services.
The service level agreement was signed on April 20 last year, he said.
“The payment schedule provided for R5610100 (excluding VAT) for services rendered for the 2017/18 financial year ending June 30, 2018. The payment schedule also provided for an additional R6800150 (excluding VAT) payment in April 2018 for the 2017/18 financial year ending June 2018,” Mokgalapa said.
The last payment was for R2254600.00 (excluding VAT) in July 2019 for the 2019/20 financial year ending June 2019.
Mokgalapa, however, said he took any allegation of corruption or wrongdoing seriously. He said the City instituted a forensic investigation to decipher whether any legislation was ignored throughout the process of the contract being awarded.
In a separate matter, Maepa announced that the council-mandated report into the GladAfrica corruption scandal investigation had been concluded. “We encourage the executive mayor and audit performance committee to bring the report (during Thursday's council sitting). We are aware that the audit executive Mr Moeketsi Ntsimane is also now the acting city manager and has lost his independence - so the report might have been tampered with ,” he claimed.
He said the party didn’t expect “a whitewash” report “after more than half a billion rand of public money was lost in a year in the GladAfrica corruption scandal”.
“We want nothing but the truth on what really happened in the GladAfrica corruption scandal,” he said.
The party claimed to have information indicating that an amount of R900000 a month is paid to a service provider for doing absolutely nothing at Wonderboom Airport
“The DA has basically run down the City’s international airport and damaged all the management processes that were set up since the year 2000,” he said.
Mokgalapa announced last week that the City was considering selling or leasing out its Wonderboom National Airport, which was running at a loss.
“As things stand, the airport costs the City R50m in maintenance a year, but only yields a meagre revenue of about R20m,” he said.