R14m double-tender trouble

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JNT Mohlala, Greater Tubatse municipal Manager
JNT Mohlala, Greater Tubatse municipal Manager

Limpopo’s platinum-rich Greater Tubatse Municipality in Burgersfort is in a sticky situation after appointing two electrical engineering companies to do the same job of installing high-mast lighting in surrounding villages as a crime-prevention strategy.

Johannes Mohlala, the manager of South Africa’s worst run municipality, according to the Auditor-General, now has to clean up the mess.

This comes after one of the affected companies obtained a court interdict against both the municipality and other company that got the same tender – a year later.

Mohlala awarded a R14 million tender for the design, installation and management of 40 high-mast lights to Volt Consulting Engineers in December, but the same tender was awarded to Bawelile Consulting Engineers in January 2014 by his predecessor, Adelaide Monyepao, who was acting in the position.

Bawelile Consulting Engineers applied for and was granted an interdict by the Polokwane High Court on April 22, prohibiting the municipality from entering into a new service-level agreement with Volt Consulting Engineers.

However, should the municipality already have a service-level agreement, the interdict prohibits Volt Engineering and Greater Tubatse Municipality from implementing it or interfering with the project. This includes paying Volt Engineering for any work that has already been done.

The whole tender will now have to be reviewed and awarded again, while residents in the municipality’s sprawling villages continue to live in fear of crime when out at night.

Bawelile Consulting Engineers was appointed first to do designs and also to manage the project when the municipality appointed a contractor to install the high-mast lights.

The CEO of Bawelile Consulting Engineers, Thulani Ziyane, said his company finished the design in November.

“We were waiting for a contractor to be appointed for the installation of the high-mast lights. While that was happening, design and management company Volt was appointed,” Ziyane said.

“The municipality behaved as if it did not know, and did not want to sit down and talk about this. We had no choice but to go to court,” he said.

Mohlala allegedly sidestepped Bawelile and appointed Volt Consulting Engineers on December 18, but without following tender procedures.

Mohlala declined to comment and said the matter was sub judice.

“The matter is before court, so let’s wait for those processes to run,” he said.

City Press reported last month that Mohlala did not put the high-mast tender awarded to Volt Engineering through an open bidding process – as required by the Municipal Finance Management Act for every tender valued at more than R200 000.

Mohlala defended his appointment of Volt Engineering without an open bidding process last month by claiming the appointment was according to municipal supply chain management regulation 32 of 2005.

The regulation guides a municipality on how to procure goods and services from a company under a contract secured by another state organ. In this case, Mohlala should have obtained documents indicating how Volt was appointed and table the matter before the council. He did not do so.

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