Speaker to check Msunduzi broadband tender claims

2013-09-02 00:00

DA councillor Mergan Chetty believes he is the subject of an investigation because he has been quoted in the media after speaking out against the city’s R1,2 billion broadband tender.

He said at last week’s Msunduzi Council meeting, the chair of the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) Mike Tarr had called on speaker Babu Baijoo to investigate some of the statements that appeared in the article.

Chetty said this meant he was being investigated, as the speaker could only investigate councillors and he was the only councillor who was quoted in the Sunday Tribune article on the broadband tender. He added that he would continue to raise relevant questions.

“What we are saying now is not new, the DA is on record as objecting to this tender right from the outset,” said Chetty.

But Baijoo said the investigation was not about Chetty. He said that council had oversight over the whole municipality, including the administration. The council had both MPAC and the Internal Audit divisions to assist it in playing an oversight role.

“We have been tasked with investigating an accusation of alleged impropriety involving a tender and this is what we will be doing,” Baijoo said.

Chetty said it is a concern that municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi waited eight months before telling council that the contract had been cancelled.

At the council meeting, Nkosi said there was no contract because the municipality had written to the Johannesburg City Council on November 5 asking to piggy-back on their contract, but, to date, had received no response.

Chetty queried why, if there was no response, the broadband project was put onto the city’s budget.

He added that other media had written about the broadband project at different times this year and they were never told that the project had been cancelled because there was no response from Johannesburg. He said a more important issue was that council took a resolution giving the project the go-ahead after a presentation by the PCB chairperson on behalf of Duzi-wired in October last year.

“So if the council is not going the Johannesburg route and have not received a response about piggy-backing on that contract, what will be done now? Will it be put out to open tender?” he asked.

Nkosi said the tender was never awarded and was not placed on the council’s budget, as the project will be funded by a third party.

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