DA eThekwini demands answers in city’s R9 million payment for non-functional toilets

Issued by Cllr Mxolisi Khubisa – DA eThekwini Finance Committee Whip
04 Jul 2024 in Press Statements

The DA in eThekwini will formally call on the City Manager, Musa Mbhele, to get clarity on R9 million paid to a private service provider for non-functional toilets and showers at one of the city’s shelters. This follows reporting that has brought to light monthly payments of R250 000 to Msaly Trading for the provision of 12 toilets and showers.

The investigative report by Ground Up also revealed that only 8 showers had been installed – none of which are working or linked to water supply. The report further found that under the existing municipal contract the supplier is to provide 20 toilets at two shelters in the city – Molyneux Road shelter and Durban Station shelter – however, majority are out of use.

Despite this shameful and brazen act of wasteful expenditure, according to the publication, the sole Director of Msaly Trading confirmed still having an active contract with eThekwini. The nature of the awarding of the contract has also come under the spotlight with the contract having been awarded in terms of a National Treasury Covid-19 State of Disaster exemption in 2020. Under this provision municipalities could award emergency contracts without having to subject them to normal tender processes.

The contract process should have been reassessed once the COVID state of disaster was lifted, as per terms of the supply chain management rules. This, however, did not happen which is a violation of the Municipal Finance Management Act and supply chain management policy of the city.

What is more shocking is that the Head of the Safer Cities Programme, Martin Xaba, applied for the regularization of R2, 5 million to be paid to Msaly Trading between April 2022 and January 2023 as part of latest payments, claiming “value for money had been attained”.

The DA cannot sit idle while blatant and apparent wasteful expenditure takes place. After writing to the City Manager, we will be taking up these findings to ensure this financial bleed and abuse of taxpayers’ money comes to an immediate end.