EFF, ANC, ActionSA block plan for R26 billion unsolicited bid to ramp up Tshwane electricity

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Randall Williams, Tshwane mayor. Photo: Melinda Stuurman
Randall Williams, Tshwane mayor. Photo: Melinda Stuurman
  • Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams is accused of flouting municipal legislation. 
  • He had sought council approval to adopt a forensic report to possibly appoint a service provider to refurbish two coal power stations.
  • Williams said the deal would increase the city's power supply in the long term, but the ANC, EFF and ActionSA questioned the motives behind the bid.

A R26 billion bid to refurbish the City of Tshwane's power stations, likely leading to an increase in the city's electricity supply, has been put on hold after opposition political parties accused Mayor Randall Williams of flouting municipal legislation. 

The City of Tshwane council met on Tuesday to consider a forensic report into an unsolicited bid from a company that offered to refurbish and maintain two power stations in Tshwane. 

The Pretoria West and Rooiwal coal power stations have been out of operation since 2014. 

According to Williams and the DA, the bid envisages the power stations to be refurbished and turned into gas energy supply networks. 

This would help generate 800 megawatts of power over the long term and possibly ease load shedding in the city, said Williams.

He said if the deal was approved it would amount to a direct investment of R26 billion.

But the city's opposition political parties, the ANC, EFF and the DA-coalition partners ActionSA, did not agree, and objected to the report being adopted and forwarded for public comment. 

The arguments raised relates to whether the city should open the process to other companies and not just one. 

READ | How the City of Tshwane multiparty coalition govt has brought stability to Council

Municipal legislation allows the government to bypass the usual procurement processes only in certain circumstances. 

An example would be if a service provider was the only one who could provide the service and no alternative was available.

The ANC, EFF and ActionSA accused Williams of "hijacking" procurement procedures and being overly involved in the process. 

The ANC said: 

We reject the report with the contempt it deserves, and we want the mayor probed for procurement interference. The report is about the refurbishment of two power stations... The idea is brilliant. We supported the idea of refurbishing the power stations [in light of] the energy crisis, but we do not support the way the DA wanted to procure the service provider.

The EFF took a similar line in the debate. 

"We have lost confidence in this mayor, and we support the matter being referred to the rules and ethics committee. This report doesn't even show us if this is less than what we will get from Eskom. What is the purpose of supporting this if it would not save the people of Tshwane money?"

ActionSA, meanwhile, said that as part of its coalition arrangement it had raised concerns with the DA but did not receive any response, and giving the bid the green light would be tantamount to supporting bad governance.

"The report states that the bid is unsolicited, yet there is no indication of the four legal requirements this unsolicited bid meets in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act," ActionSA said in a statement. 

Corruption claims

Williams said he would seek legal counsel after being accused of corruption by ActionSA and the EFF. 

The two political parties claim to have a recording in which Williams purportedly tried to strongarm officials during a management meeting to approve the bid.

"ActionSA and their EFF allies have sought to accuse me of corruption, smear my name and, most disturbing to me, undermine governance in the city. I encourage them to share that recording they cling to so that people can hear how we diligently workshop matters in Tshwane," Williams said.

"I will also be consulting my attorneys with a view to taking action against the people who have slandered me. Nonetheless, the DA and I will continue to strive to end load shedding in our city, protect our residents and uphold the rule of law," he added.

The matter will be referred to the council's rules and ethics committee. 

The council did not adopt the report. 

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