DA intensifies efforts to get answers on 20 refuse collection tenders awarded worth R144 million

Issued by Councillor Mzamo Billy – DA eThekwini Deputy Caucus Leader
14 Mar 2023 in Press Statements

DA intensifies efforts to get answers on 20 refuse collection tenders worth R144 million awarded in terms of section 36 in just 120 days.

The DA in eThekwini has again written to the city manager, Musa Mbhele, requesting that he provide reasons for the continued use of the contentious Section 36 of the Supply Chain Management regulations in the awarding of Durban Solid Waste (DSW) refuse collection tenders between October 2022 and January 2023. (Read letter here)

Section 36 (2) of the city’s SCM policy mandates the city manager document and report any deviations to the council.

To date, no reasons have been given for the awarding of 20 DSW tenders using Section 36, which has in the past been used incorrectly.

Currently, Zandile Gumede, the former mayor of the eThekwini Municipality, and her 21 co-accused, including former eThekwini City manager Sipho Nzuza and ANC councillor Mondli Mthembu, are accused of more than 2000 crimes, including conspiring to commit corruption, corruption, fraud, money laundering, racketeering, and violating the Municipal Systems Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The accusations relate to a R320 million DSW deal that was awarded using the contentious Section 36.

Just over a week ago, the DA revealed that the city recently awarded 20 DSW refuse collection tenders worth R144.8 million using Section 36 in just 120 days for refuse collection, street cleaning, litter picking, and verge removal in eThekwini Municipality hostels, townships, and rural areas.

The Section 36 tenders were awarded to at least 13 companies, with each getting between R20 million and R31 million. In one instance, a single company received three tenders, one in October for R12 million and two in January for R13.4 million, both under Section 36 of the procurement process.

Given that no mechanisms to prevent the abuse and misuse of Section 36 have been put in place, the city may be dealing with a repeat of the Zandile Gumede case.

We have given the city manager seven days to respond to the DA’s inquiries; if he does not, the party will submit the questions in accordance with Section 27 of the council rules of order, which must be answered in a full council meeting.