Questionable tender

2008-06-10 00:00

The Msunduzi Municipality has put out to tender the task of dredging the canal at Camps Drift. Those tendering were required to quote a competitive price and also to show wide experience of similar large dredging contracts.

While no public announcement has yet been made, information has come to light that the preferred bidder is a company called Planet Waves. One of this company’s two directors is Jabulani Mjwara, the former director general of the provincial department of Agriculture and Environment Affairs. Mjwara resigned from this post before facing a disciplinary hearing regarding the running of the department. A forensic investigation into the affairs of the department has been finalised but not made public on the grounds that it may become part of a broader criminal investigation which must not be prejudiced. Such decisions tend to leave a cloud of suspicion in the public mind even if they are, in principle, justified.

The absence of finality and full transparency on this matter means inevitably that Mjwara remains suspect of serious misconduct as a civil servant. How can the Msunduzi Municipality in such circumstances consider awarding his recently formed company its dredging contract? Apart from possible misdemeanour charges hanging over Mjwara’s head, it is doubtful whether Planet Waves has the necessary previous experience of dredging activity.

In reporting on this disturbing matter The Witness was unable to elicit any comment either from the municipality or from Mjwara. It will continue to play its role as watchdog in the public interest and in its quest for clean

government at every level.

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