Gauteng tries to use Tshwane’s ANC failures against DA
17 May 2020
Last month the Gauteng High Court set aside the decision of the ANC-led Gauteng government to disband the DA-led Tshwane municipal council.
As Gauteng appeals the judgment, the pressure is on the province’s MEC for local government, Lebogang Maile, to justify his actions in the court of public opinion.
This week MEC Maile was reported as saying that the DA-led administration in Tshwane had left the city with hundreds of legal disputes resulting from irregular tenders (tshwane-da-administration-racked-up-r1-9bn-in-irregualr-expenditure-maile).
He made specific mention of three tenders in particular - contracts for a broadband network, fleet management, and waste removal. At least two of these deals are indeed irregular, and the result of maladministration, if not outright corruption.
But here’s what the MEC failed to disclose: all three contracts were procured under the ANC, not the DA; and after August 2016 it was left to Tshwane’s new DA-led administration to mop up the ANC’s mess.
Under the broadband contract the city tied itself to 18 year, multi-billion rand obligation to acquire a municipal broadband network.
No proper assessment was done of the city’s ability to foot this bill, or whether the broadband technology would still be useful to the city when it eventually acquired ownership of the network in about 2034.
Both provincial and national treasuries advised the City against the deal (a fact not disclosed to councillors at the time), and the procurement process was riddled with irregularities.
This did not stop the then ANC mayor of Tshwane, Kgosiento Ramokgopa, from recommending the approval of the broadband contract to the municipal council in April 2016. The DA opposed the contract, but it was approved by an ANC majority.
Later it was left to the DA-led administration to approach the High Court to have the broadband deal set aside; a mission that was eventually accomplished in July 2019. The judgment can be read here: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAGPPHC/2019/958.html
Under the fleet management contract Tshwane handed over the procurement, leasing and repair of all the city’s cars to a set of three companies under a so-called public private partnership.
One of the contractors failed to submit the necessary performance guarantees, and its bid documentation was later found to have been fraudulent. But even before patent irregularities were discovered, the deal simply made no financial sense - at least not from the city’s perspective.
But in January 2016 ex-mayor Ramokgopa tabled the fleet management contract in the municipal council for approval. Once again the DA voted against the deal, but it was passed by the council’s then ANC majority.
Not only did this deal prove to be financially ruinous, it also left the city with less control over its own assets and processes, and fewer working vehicles to maintain and delivery services.
Once again it was left to the DA-led administration to try extricate Tshwane from a financially ruinous contract, while Ramokgopa went on to land a job in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office.
Clearly MEC Maile, and the ANC in Gauteng, is trying to use the disastrous failures of their own comrades in Tshwane as a stick to beat the DA.
Cilliers Brink is DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance