R631m waste is 'not municipality's fault'

The Municipal Infrastructure Agency has come under harsh criticism from members of parliament for not practising "due diligence" when recommending the controversial Siyenza Group.

Siyenza was appointed to construct 66000 toilet structures for a sanitation project of the Amathole district municipality in Eastern Cape.

The project was terminated amid allegations that the company had submitted tax documents not issued by the SA Revenue Service (SARS).

The appointment was executed using section 32 of the supply chain management regulation, which allowed the municipality to appoint Siyenza Group because the company had a similar sanitation project with the agency in Northern Cape.

The project, which was halted about three months ago, came under scrutiny when parliament's joint water and sanitation and cooperative governance and traditional affairs committee portfolios came to the province this week.

Speaking to the Daily Dispatch, Sowetan's sister publication, yesterday, leader of the delegation and parliament's water and sanitation portfolio committee chairman, Mlungisi Johnson, said the agency should take most of the blame for Siyenza's appointment.

"The challenge that the municipality is facing is that they were brought on board a company (sic) by Misa. [If] Misa sees a company in Northern Cape doing a similar project [for them], they are expected to do due diligence before they hand it over," Johnson said.

When Siyenza was appointed by the municipality, the company had a R119-million sanitation tender in Northern Cape, which has since been terminated.

"This mainly resides more with Misa. ADM is just a beneficiary of the project. The district needs to be applauded for having been vigilant, having observed a few anomalies, hence it cancelled the project," Johnson said.

"The media played its role, because the ADM saw itself with egg on its face as if they are the ones that brought Siyenza, yet it is the other way around."

After a briefing by leaders in the municipality, the delegation of parliamentarians went to Stutterheim in the Amahlati local municipality for an on-location visit.

Shoddy workmanship and poor quality of the work done by Siyenza for the R631-million ADM sanitation project was for the first time since its commencement laid bare to members of the parliament.

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