COUNCIL OFFICIAL IN TROUBLE FOR OVERPAY

A SUSPENDED Mpumalanga municipal official has been ordered to repay more than R3million he allegedly overpaid to a road upgrading firm.

A SUSPENDED Mpumalanga municipal official has been ordered to repay more than R3million he allegedly overpaid to a road upgrading firm.

The integrity management unit has recommended that Sabelo Shabangu, municipal manager of Nkomazi municipality, pay back R3245000 which he paid Tarfix, who had won a tender to upgrade and construct a ring road in Nkomazi.

Investigators say the tendered amount of the project was R41900000 but this expenditure soared to R45145000 and was approved by Shabangu without following procedure.

This resulted in the Johannesburg company being paid R3245000 extra.

The council has already issued the letter of demand to Shabangu.

But Tarfix director Deon Pagel insists that this increase in payment was incurred through "the additional work required for ground conditions and other necessary requirements".

"This also includes the omissions relating to the shortening of the roads and other items not required," said Pagel.

But investigators were not satisfied with this explanation and want Shabangu to face the music.

The unit also found that this project was advertised twice after the process was cancelled by Shabangu on July 17 2007.

The re-advertisement, which cost R4000, is regarded as fruitless expenditure and should also be recovered from Shabangu.

It was also found that the period allowed for bidders to complete the bid was not sufficient and contrary to the provisions of the supply chain management system.

The municipality paid for upgrading of 32,2km of roads but instead the service provider only completed 26,8km.

It has also been established that the quality of some work was sub-standard.

Other recommendations by the integrity management unit were that the municipality should ensure that bid documents reflect the requirement and criteria that would be used for evaluation purposes.

These findings come at a time when Shabangu is on suspension.

He was suspended on November 4 last year on allegations ranging from dereliction of duty, nepotism and contravention of the municipal code of conduct.

But since his suspension, the municipality has been struggling to charge him.

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