Borehole tender shame

2010-06-27 10:02

» Nearly one million Limpopo villagers are still thirsty.

» Villagers are still sharing dirty water with cows.

Scores of rural villagers in Limpopo are still experiencing a

­water crisis nearly a year after the Mopani district municipality issued

multimillion-rand tenders for the supply of boreholes and maintenance of

pumps.

It is alleged that most of the 49 companies which shared contracts

worth R25 million between August and December last year did shoddy work,

supplied low-capacity machines and drilled boreholes in the wrong places.

The crisis, which dates back more than a year, is threatening more

than one million people in 325 villages across the region.

Official papers in City Press’s possession show that more than half

of the 100 tenders, ranging in value from R8 000 to R499 000, were issued to a

list of beneficiaries packed with ­local ANC cadres and activists.

The beneficiaries, including Desmond Mahasha, branch chairperson

Phetole Molapisane and Member of the Provincial Legislature Pharephare Mothupi,

got their share of the tenders less than a month before the Mopani regional

elective conference last September.

This has stirred up allegations that taxpayers’ money was used to

buy votes.

Mopani district municipality mayor Joshua Matlou, an ally of

Premier Cassel Mathale and ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, was

subsequently elevated to the party’s regional chairpersonship unopposed.

An ANC local leader who refused to be named said: “Those tenders

were for the conference. That is why that boy (Matlou) was ­elected

unopposed.”

Although the tenders were ­issued in response to Water and

Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica’s declaration of parts of the

region as disaster ­areas, and her subsequent pledge to immediately spend R75

million (to be increased to R250 million within three years), the intended

beneficiaries said the tenders had yet to make a ­difference in their

lives.

Matlou told City Press last year that he would spend R16 million on

repairing 4 000 boreholes before December.

In our visits to more than 20 villages across the Greater Letaba,

Greater Tzaneen and Giyani municipalities over the past four weeks, however, we

found that little had changed from what we saw 10 months ago.

Ga-Mamaila headman Kgosi Khuduwani Mamaila said: “The problem is

that they give each other tenders.

 You will never get them unless you are an ANC

member, no matter how good you are.”

Limpopo water affairs director Alison Matukani confirmed that

Sonjica had raised R54 million and the Mopani district municipality had spent

R25 million on the problem.

Matlou referred all enquiries to MDM manager, Timothy Maake, who

said yesterday: “To our knowledge, all the villages where repairs were

undertaken do have water and we do not know anything contrary.

“The water challenge facing our municipality is not about the

operation and maintenance of boreholes, as this is one source of water, but the

lack of adequate water sources poses a ­challenge.”

Maake said unhappy communities must contact MDM via their ward

councillors.

He conceded that the tenders had not been advertised: “The

repairing of boreholes is categorised as maintenance and operation but not

capital.

As a result we opted to use the quotation approach as per required

policy.”

However, MDM advertised tenders for the supply of boreholes and

machines on June 18.

Maake promised to take steps against any contractor who failed to

deliver.


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