'Security groups operating illegally'

Chester Makana

Chester Makana

Thirteen security companies contracted to the Thulamela Municipality in Limpopo are operating illegally and under a corrupt umbrella, the Thohoyandou high court found out yesterday.

The finding comes after seven companies in the area took the municipality to court in August over the alleged controversial allocation of security tenders.

The companies had accused the municipality of fraud and corruption.

They said the municipality had awarded tenders to companies that were not meeting statutory requirements.

Acting judge Johannes Eberson ruled in favour of the applicants and said that the companies in operation should be stopped as they were "pushing the wheels of corruption".

It is alleged that some of the companies were operating their security businesses without guns.

Spokesman for concerned companies, Johnny Khubana, said they welcomed Eberson's decision, but that they were worried that taxpayers' money was being wasted by corrupt officials.

"It is useless to see undeserving companies being awarded tenders while well-equipped companies are being ignored. This is pure corruption," said Khubana.

He claimed some of the companies did not have offices or armed response vehicles to transport cash, "but were still being awarded tenders".

Sources in the municipality told Sowetan that some of the companies were owned by members of the adjudication committee responsible to allocating tenders.

Khubana said they were still going to consult with their legal representative on what the next step would be.

Makonde Mathivha, Thulamela Municipal's manager, shot down allegations that some officials were being bribed, and said they awarded tenders as per recommendations from the adjudication committee.