COUNCIL TENDER ROW
HARDLY a week after President Jacob Zuma told mayors and municipality managers to fight corruption, stop squabbling and improve service delivery, another local government is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
North West's Moses Kotane municipality, which includes areas such as Mogwase, Madikwe near Rustenburg and the internationally famous Sun City resort, is reeling from a multi-million tender that resulted in shoddy work and double the initial cost.
Mayor Peter Molelekeng and municipal manager Gobakwang Moatshe attended the Cape Town meeting called by Zuma.
The contract, initially worth R14million, was for the construction of the second phase of the Moses Kotane Civic Centre. Two years and R20million later there are only bricks, mortar and cheap corrugated iron roofing to show for what was supposed to be the second phase of a civic centre.
The first phase, completed three years ago, houses municipal offices and mayoral chambers.
The second phase of the civic centre started in January 2008 with a budget of R14million and was supposed to be completed 10 months ago.
According to documents in Sowetan's possession the municipal manager approached the council halfway through last years for an additional R6million, which was granted. But when he returned for another R6million he was turned down.
A report by architects and consultants Deon van Aswegen and Jan van Bergen, who were roped in three weeks ago to assess the progress, said cheap materials were used and recommended that the plastering be torn down and done again.
Municipality spokesperson Beauty Makganye would not answer questions posed to her directly.
"The council is still going to discuss that report," Makganye said.
But a council meeting in August recommended that the contract with the service providers be terminated. Sowetan has the report.
"The reason for this recommendation of termination is the non-performance of contractual obligations of both project manager and contractor in terms of the contract," says the report.
Stephan Piek, the municipality's lawyer, advised the council to engage Van Aswegen and Van Bergen and other service providers "to discuss the possibilities and options for completion of the contract".
Sources in the municipality said senior officials inflated tender amounts and received kickbacks from service providers.
Van Aswegen and Van Bergen were the contractors of the first phase, which cost R14million.
New contractors were appointed to build the second phase in late 2007.
These included Ramatyobe Trading, Promptique and Peba Associates.
A list of payments for the project shows that Ramatyobe, with Promptique, received more than R8million for the project since its inception until March this year.
Promptique is owned by Pat Maema, who also provides the municipality with security services.
Maema said the assessment by Van Aswegen and Van Bergen was "a joke".
"I heard about the looming termination of the contract, but the municipality still owes us money for services rendered. If they don't pay, we will meet in court," Maema said.