‘Illegally seized documents could cause irreparable harm to Msunduzi’

2016-04-14 11:49
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Pietermaritzburg - The recent illegal seizure by police of documents relating to the disposal of the Polocrosse fields land had the potential to cause irreparable harm to Msunduzi Municipality.

This was said by the suspended head of Msunduzi’s Internal Audit Unit (IAU) Petrus Mahlaba, in an affidavit supporting this week’s successful court bid by the municipality forcing police to return all computers and documents seized in a raid on City Hall on March 18.

Mahlaba said police did not even have a warrant authorising their search and seizure of documents from the Supply Chain Management offices, which included important documents concerning the Polocrosse land. “This was also a tender project which had reached the stage of adjudication but had to be referred back to the Bid Committee in order to clarify certain issues,” he said.

Mahlaba said the project was urgent and had to be finalised “in the very near future” as it related to the disposal of land for development that would also create jobs. The validity time frame for the project was up to the end of April this year. If it was not been implemented by then Msunduzi would suffer grave irreparable harm, he said.

This, he said, was because Msunduzi would have to apply for an extension of the validity period for the contract which would “in all probability” result in starting the tender process afresh. If it had to be re-advertised this would compromise development and job creation and there would also “probably be challenges from parties who have already tendered for the project”.

Mahlaba said a new bid process could also be compromised because bidders were now aware of the prices which were previously tendered.

• Another important document seized during the illegal raid related to the construction of a road in Sweetwaters area. The R32 million contract to be funded by the municipal infrastructure grant provided by National Treasury, is still in the process of being sent to the Evaluation Committee.

Mahlaba said the project is already included in the municipal budget and if the money was not spent it would end up being reclaimed by Treasury.

Msunduzi intends to start the project in May this year.

Other documents illegally seized from the Supply Chain Management office concerned tenders already awarded to various service providers. Their seizure meant Msunduzi was “hamstrung” from monitoring and enforcing the terms of these contracts and could also result in non-payment of service providers. This in turn could lead to legal challenges against Msunduzi. The documents taken included those relating to the Electricity Panel of Contractors, the parking meter system, Co-ops Waste Management and several others.

Read more on:    msunduzi municipality  |  pietermaritzburg

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