City of Cape Town to defend court action over desalination project

2019-06-21 21:31
The desalination plant on the Waterfront is not operating and the company that runs it is in a legal dispute with the City of Cape Town. (Kristine Liao, GroundUp)

The desalination plant on the Waterfront is not operating and the company that runs it is in a legal dispute with the City of Cape Town. (Kristine Liao, GroundUp)

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The City of Cape Town intends to fight the court action brought against it by the company that built a desalination plant at the V&A Waterfront.

The City said in a statement on Friday it did not agree with the allegations by the company, Quality Filtration Services (QFS), about misrepresentations and contractual breaches by it, and intended to "strongly defend the court action".

It noted "with concern" QFS's allegations against it about the tender awarded for the desalination plant.

The City said it had been reluctant to respond to the allegations in the media because of a confidentiality provision in the mediation agreement between the parties.

"It is noted that QFS has disregarded these confidentiality provisions. Given that summons have now been issued against the City, and the matter is now the subject of court proceedings, the City does not intend to litigate via the media," it said.

QFS argued in court papers lodged in the Western Cape High Court that the City "deliberately or negligently" withheld information about the sewage contamination of seawater in the tender information for building the desalination plant.

QFS, which has spent months in mediation with the City without resolution, is suing the City for R57.4m for non-payment, misrepresentation and failure to buy the water.

The City has a marine outfall pipe at Green Point, where raw sewage is disposed of through a pipe that is several kilometres long.

QFS said it does not believe that ratepayers' money should be spent on a matter which "should not be anywhere near a High Court".

Because of many contractual disputes, the company had asked the City to go to mediation last year, but after being ignored for months, QFS got a court order to force the City to attend mediation.

Read more on:    v&a waterfront  |  city of cape town
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