AIC behind Masina after allegations surface of looting in R1.9bn toilet tender

Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina. (Frennie Shivambu, Gallo Images, file)
Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina. (Frennie Shivambu, Gallo Images, file)

The ANC's coalition partner, the African Independent Congress (AIC), has shifted the blame for the R1.9bn toilet tender saga from Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina to former Ekurhuleni mayor, Mondli Gungubela, saying the tender was awarded before Masina's time. 

AIC regional secretary Yongama Mabeng told News24 the party believed Gungubela should answer for the allegations instead.

The party believes an attack on Masina is an attack on the coalition. 

This comes after Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile wrote a letter to Masina after an amaBhungane investigative report revealed that the metro spent R1.9bn on a toilet tender that was an alleged "get-rich-quick scheme for underperforming contractors".

The report suggested that the project, in which toilets were sourced from 16 small suppliers, was a get-rich-quick scheme for some underperforming contractors that left many a beneficiary with dirty and broken toilets, the human settlements department said in a statement on Wednesday.

The investigative publication reported that the tender had occurred over three financial years from 2017 to 2019."If indeed these allegations are true, there needs to be corresponding consequences.

"Government funds should not by any means be misappropriated nor used as a get-rich-quick scheme for cronies and dubious business people," Maile said. 

Mabeng said the party believed that allegations of Masina's involvement were unwarranted.

He praised Masina for the municipality's clean audit for the 2017/2018 financial year. 

"This tender was awarded before we came into a coalition with the ANC. The tender was awarded in 2016. When his (Masina's) administration came into effect, that tender was already running. The City manager started in 2017," he said.

Mabeng said the party believed that the allegations were part of power struggles in the ANC in the region.

He said the party had been approached by some within the ANC on several occasions to turn against Masina. 

"The ANC must clean its house. We will not be used for the region's factional battles. We believe that we are trying our level best to ensure we protect public funds for our people to benefit. There is a fight in the top six in Ekurhuleni in the ANC," he said. 

Responding, Gungubela said he would never be drawn into anything untoward during his time as Ekurhuleni mayor.

"I was never involved personally in tendering processes," he said.

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