Umvoti accused of waste

2009-02-02 00:00

Allegations of wasteful expenditure have once again emerged at the uMvoti (Greytown) Municipality, after an agent appears to have placed a huge mark-up on a printing order for calendars and diaries. This time the Democratic Alliance has accused the IFP-led council of squandering more than R50 000 on calendars and diaries, which the mayor said was money well spent.

The latest allegations come barely a week after The Witness quoted ANC sources saying their party was opposed to the decision to hold the council’s policy meeting at a Drakensberg conference venue. The meeting was held over two days and cost the council about R40 000 — but apparently lasted only six hours.

The DA has said the municipality’s expenditure on calendars and diaries is an “absolute waste”.

According to DA councillor Paul Buss, the council has spent R56 000 to have 100 diaries and 100 calendars made.

“Who on earth are these diaries to be given to? And at over R500 per diary?” said Buss.

The diaries are A5 size and the calendars A2. Both bear the photos of the mayor, deputy mayor and the speaker of the council.

Buss said local printers were not given the opportunity to tender for the job, and Greytown printers claimed they could have done a better job for far less.

A local printer, who wished to remain anonymous, said the municipality gave the job to a Durban company. He said the municipality usually tenders jobs valued at more than R5 000, but this time it did not.

Another businessman who does work for the municipality claims that the quality of the calendars is poor and said they are printed on “mere” cardboard, and contain mistakes. He said the name of Deputy Mayor S.V. Zondi appears as S.V. Ndlovu in both the diaries and the calendars. The mistake was rectified by sticking a piece of paper with the correct name on top of the name printed on the calendar and in the diary.

The Witness asked four other printing companies how much they would have charged the council. The highest quotation came from a Durban-based printer — R3 100 for the printing of the same calendar and R7 500 for the diaries.

A spokesperson for the printing company that carried out the council’s job, who wished to remain anonymous and asked that the company not be named as that would affect their business, said they printed the job for under R12 000. The spokesperson said the job was given to them by the owner of Zanozi Trading based in Durban.

The woman who answered the phone when The Witness called Zanozi identified herself as the owner, but refused to give her name. She said she was asked by the municipality to tender for the job and got it after she was told she was the lowest bidder.

Mayor Petros Ngubane told The Witness he is happy with the quality of the calendars and the diaries. He said expenditure was budgeted for. “The intention was to promote the municipality and that was achieved. I am more than happy,” said Ngubane.

An expert in procurement processes in municipalities said a service provider that has a contract with a municipality can outsource or sub-contract any part of the contract to other service providers. The primary contractor can either pay the sub-contractors directly or ask the municipality to pay them.

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