eThekwini defends IT group hire

2013-07-17 00:00

THE eThekwini Municipality has ­defended the appointment of an IT consultancy to implement a Revenue Management System (RMS), although it reviewed and advised council on continuing with the development of the project.

The municipality awarded Liepzig Advisory IT a R15,6 million tender in January to implement the RMS without following competitive bidding processes. This came after the company was paid R1 million last year to review the work done on the system, following an increase in the cost from R150 million when it started in 2003 to R474,7 million in 2011.

However, the tender to implement the RMS has attracted criticism and opposition parties have accused the consultant of having a vested interest when it recommended to the eThekwini Municipality that the RMS development be continued.

It was reported yesterday that the Minority Front wants city manager Sbu Sithole to investigate why the consultant recommended that the municipality continue with the RMS.

The DA has written to Sithole and city treasurer Krish Kumar asking them to justify the monthly R650 000 paid to Liepzig Advisory IT and to reveal what council received in return.

Municipal spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng said it was justifiable to appoint Liepzig Advisory IT to implement the system because they had knowledge and experience of working on the project for six months when it reviewed it. “If we had appointed another company, they would have had to start afresh and the costs could have been even higher,” Mofokeng said.

He denied that the consultancy had actually recommended that council continue with the RMS. “What they did was to give council three options containing the pros and cons. They gave their recommendations and the council decided to continue with the RMS,” Mofokeng said. He also said there was no conflict of interest in awarding the tender to the same company that assessed the system.

According to Mofokeng, the RMS would help the municipality improve its collection of revenue from taxes, electricity and billing, among others.

“To collect revenue, we need to have an efficient system,” he said.

“There was a business case for the system, but the problem arose when there was escalation of costs at the time when it was developed.”

Mofokeng would not say how much the city’s revenue collection has improved since the IT company was appointed to implement the RMS six months ago.

When contacted, Liepzig’s chief operations officer Yonah Rwambiwa said: “We are not to comment. Talk to the municipality.”

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