The Amajuba District has officially welcomed the Special Investigation Unit’s (SIU) intention to probe into the awarding of a tender related to the construction of a reservoir in the eMadlangeni (Utrecht) Municipality.
Newcastillian News initially reported on 18 September 2023, that President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the SIU to investigate allegations of serious maladministration within the Amajuba District Municipality concerning the mentioned reservoir tender.
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Now, nearly a month later, the District Municipality’s Mayor, Cllr Ndabuko Zulu, along with the municipality’s administration has welcomed the SIU’s intent to investigate the matter.
The District Municipality’s Communications Unit shed light on the circumstances around the investigations and the awarding of the tender.
” The tender in reference was advertised during the procurement period that closed on 13 September 2019. The Municipality later awarded a contract amounting to R59.93 million on 22 January 2020, for the construction of a 20 ML reinforced concrete reservoir and associated infrastructure at Braakfontein reservoir, “stated the District Municipality’s Communications Unit.
The communications unit further revealed that a supplier with a lower bid price was identified, but the bid was not evaluated for functionality as required by regulations. Irregularities were subsequently identified during a municipal internal audit conducted in the 2021 financial year and reported to the then ANC administration. However, the report was disregarded. In the 2020/21 audit by the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA), this matter was raised as Material Irregularity, prompting the municipality to investigate.
Furthermore, Ongoti Consulting PTY (LTD) was appointed by the current IFP led administration to conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged inconsistencies in the bid’s procurement procedure.
The consulting company provided recommendations for more scrutiny. However, they also highlighted investigational limits they encountered due to changes in the overseeing council, reviewing accounting officer, and key decision makers.
Cllr Zulu emphasised that the awarding procedure was carried out prior to the current IFP administration, placing the blame on the previous ANC led administration. The Amajuba District Municipality acknowledged that the SIU investigation would further slow down the delivery of water services, expressing disappointment at the high cost to the municipality.
“I must also mention that as a mayor I take a very strong stunt against fraud and corruption. The municipality has approved a policy against fraud and corruption and therefore, I call upon all law abiding citizens to stand up against all forms of mismanagement they may see taking place in the municipality,” stated the Mayor.
Additionally, Cllr Zulu reiterated his commitment to the fight against corruption and improper use of public funds on behalf of Amajuba District Municipality. He assured the municipality’s full support for the investigation and a commitment to comply and cooperate with the SIU investigation.
“As a committed, accountable, and transparent government, Amajuba District Municipality wishes to assure our communities that we fully support the investigation to unearth any suspected wrongdoing within our municipality and will fully comply and cooperate with the SIU investigation to ensure that the exercise is fruitful. Should there be any findings suggesting unlawful acts, the municipality will further welcome the decisive recommendations made by the SIU and ensure that all those found guilty are dealt with swiftly,” concluded the Amajuba District Municipality’s Communications Unit.
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