Home News R1.59 million for ’ghost project’ at NC municipality

R1.59 million for ’ghost project’ at NC municipality

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Attempts to take action against officials at Phokwane Municipality for a ’non-existent’ R1.59 million tender that was awarded for emergency repairs on two major wastewater pumps in Pampierstad have been hindered by a court judgment that found a meeting to appoint the most recent acting municipal manager, Mpho Mojaki, invalid.

File picture: Supplied

ATTEMPTS to take action against officials at Phokwane Municipality for a “non-existent” R1.59 million tender that was awarded for emergency repairs on two major wastewater pumps in Pampierstad have been hindered by a court judgment that found a meeting to appoint the most recent acting municipal manager, Mpho Mojaki, invalid.

According to an audit trail, the municipality paid R1.59 million to a contractor in October 2021 for mechanical repairs, electrical pump cable joints and installation, PVC pipes testing pressure flow and hiring of an excavator tipper truck.

A deviation was authorised after complaints were made regarding wastewater that was flowing in the street in residential sites in Pampierstad and flowing down the Kolong River.

The technical department indicated that two main pumps did not have enough power to pump through the waste.

“Since there was no necessary expertise we decided to urgently source the services of an experienced service provider to assist on an emergency basis.

“The Pampierstad sewer lines were installed by different service providers through projects financed by the Municipal Infrastructure Grant.

“The municipality appointed consultants to compile master plans since some of the infrastructure was inherited from the former Bophuthatswana and North West provinces.

“As a municipality we need a plan that clearly gives us the technical combination and flow of wastewater in Pampierstad so that we can further develop an action plan to replace affected lines and the aged network to urgently repair the two major pumps to enable the flow and reduce the spillages reported by community members as this has the potential of causing health hazard to the communities.”

It was indicated that failure to urgently attend to the matter would pose several risks to the municipality and the community of Pampierstad.

“We have to act quickly to avoid litigation by community members and the Department of Environmental Affairs as this is a health hazard to people and the animals that drink from the affected river.

“Due to the current circumstances the municipality is therefore forced to deviate from the normal supply chain management (SCM) processes that includes complying with Covid-19 regulations.”

It was reported that the extent of damages identified during the strip and repair process, quantity of work and parts that needed to be replaced would determine the financial implications.

Forum4Service Delivery councillor and regional co-ordinator Moeketsi Ntema stated that none of the work was ever completed.

“The money was paid for a ghost project and wastewater is still running down the street. Phokwane Municipality is being used for political gain. We cannot stand by and allow hard-earned ratepayers’ money be used for corrupt purposes and we will open criminal charges against implicated persons.”

He pointed out that the acting term of the municipal manager had ended on February 28 thereby preventing him from taking any steps against wrongdoing.

“This is while the community is suffering and there are no services being rendered. Enough is enough, it is time for people to account.

“A number of questionable transactions were made over the December period including the unblocking of stormwater drainage where a company was paid R640,000 while the work was not done. Another company was paid R65,000 to strip and repair a refuse truck in Pampierstad on December 17.”

The former acting municipal manager, Mpho Mojaki, indicated that he was in the process of suspending officials at the municipality who were involved in authorising “suspicious” tenders.

“I have engaged with my legal team to appeal the court judgment that found that the meeting in which I was elected as acting municipal manager was null and void. Until the matter is finalised, the status quo should remain the same and I will remain in my position.”

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