Municipalities' multimillion-rand deals under scrutiny

Cape Town - Municipalities that the Democratic Alliance has taken control of after the ANC's bruising defeat in the local government elections are in the spotlight with the party vowing to clamp down on corruption.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, Mayor Athol Trollip said a contract with Mohlaleng Media that has ballooned to R21m bears all the hallmarks of an irregular contract.

"I believe that there are adequate grounds to immediately freeze this contract and call for this immediate and urgent investigation to safeguard the institution and its reserves," he said in a statement.

Trollip asked the City Manager to freeze the Municipality’s contract with Mohlaleng Media with immediate effect, and conduct a comprehensive investigation into the deal.

He added that he requested a report on the terms of agreement and total expenditure relating to the contract with Mohlaleng Media, which was first signed in October 2014.

"I was disturbed to learn that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality had spent in excess of R21 million on this contract, some of which was allegedly used to remunerate political appointments under the former administration," said Trollip.

The Democratic Alliance together with the Economic Freedom Fighters voted to oust the ANC in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay as the ANC’s worst-ever election performance cost it control of three of South Africa’s eight major metropolitan areas.

"This administration will not tolerate irregular, wasteful or unnecessary expenditure, in any form, and any contract that is alleged to have facilitated any expenditure of this nature will be fully investigated and scrutinised," said Trollip.

According to The Herald newspaper the Johannesburg media company Mohlaleng Media initially had a R10m tender.

It reported that Mohlaleng received payments, including an amount of R771 552 for two media specialists identified as Grant Pascoe and Vukile Pokwana. The duo worked closely alongside former Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Danny Jordaan in the run up to the local government elections.

Acting city manager Johann Mettler told the PE newspaper the cap was lifted because more directorates wanted to make use of Mohlaleng's services.

Meanwhile, Trollip's counterpart in Tshwane, Mayor Solly Msimanga is also expected to investigate more than R10bn of contracts, reported Bloomberg.

This after his administration uncovered a contract worth R100m where the money had been paid out without any work carried out.

“We want to investigate a sizeable chunk,” he said. “I might go over R10bn because these things are now coming out of the woodwork.”

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