‘Tshwane mayor did not contravene procurement processes’
The DA has come out in defense of its City of Tshwane mayor Randall Williams maintaining he did not contravene any municipal procurement processes because there was no tender to even talk about.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga was joined by Williams, DA national spokesperson Cilliers Brink and Tshwane finance MMC Peter Sutton to lay out the defense against the Tshwane mayor who is facing a pending motion of no confidence following the allegations of interfering in the city’s procurement processes.
Both ActionSA- the DA’s coalition partner in Tshwane and the ANC accused Williams of interfering in the city’s supply chain management process relating to the proposal of a R26bn energy contract.
On Wednesday, the EFF opened a case corruption at the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria.
On Tuesday the DA presented a proposal for council to adopt the city going on a process of public participation for following a proposal to lease city-owned Rooiwal and the Pretoria West power substations, which have been out of service since 2014.
“The recommendation the mayoral committee made to the special meeting on Tuesday was not a tender but an investment proposal.”
Referring to a leaked recording where Williams is heard talking to officials which include chief operations officer James Murphy and acting city manager Mmaseabata Mutlaneng, among others, Williams said the city had received a proposal after being approached by a certain company and we looking at it.
“There was this recording where we discussed an unsolicited bid. But that meeting took place sometime in July last year. So we’ve had several meetings because we wanted to understand if the city receives an investment proposal, what processes must we follow?”
Williams said National Treasury stipulates any proposal that falls outside normal municipal procurement processes was not procurement thus adding he did not interfere with any regulations.
“What was before council was; there was a request to lease land from council and the municipal asset transfer regulation says the first thing you must do, you must put it out on public participation so that the residents of Tshwane can then comment whether they want this land to be least or not. If the majority of residents of Tshwane say no, then council is not going to say yes.”
Chapter 11 and Section 117 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) states that no councilor of any municipality may be a member of a municipal bid committee or any other committee evaluating or approving tenders, quotations, contracts or other bids nor attend any such meeting as an observer.
Murphy is heard saying: “In this discussion here I know what your roles and responsibilities are. I’m really just protecting you. I’m telling you right now that this is a supply chain management process at the end of the day. This discussion has never taken place.”
Another official identified as Steven can be heard warning Williams against involving himself in procurement processes.
“The fact that you’ve seen it is already a problem. It sounds like you’ve read it, that is a problem. There is significant political risk because what we’re proposing is an unsolicited bid on a mature technology, not a unique technology and it’s also not a unique funding mechanism.
“This will result in higher electricity cost for 30 years… The political risk of pushing through a particular project with mature technology has risk for the administration, has risk for you and it has to be said in such words from my perspective… politically there is a risk with what is happening in this room right now,” Steven is heard.
On Friday, Sutton defended Williams adding the city was probably four steps from any procurement process.
As a result of ActionSA voting against its coalition partner the DA failed to get enough votes to take the proposal for public participation.
Brink said ActionSA was intent on destroying the coalition in Tshwane having partnered with the EFF to bring the recording to council.
“What is left for the DA to do is to defend the coalition and to refute the allegations made by ActionSA, the EFF and the ANC. This is not just about a single investment proposal to spend R26bn of of private money on alternative energy, it is about a pattern of behavior by action is a that is sabotaging the ability of coalition’s in the metros to make effective decisions and to overturn the legacy of the ANC.”
Msimanga said the DA was behind Williams adding it would engage its coalition partners including the IFP that had raised concerns and ActionSA itself.
For the ANC’s planned motion of no confidence to stand any chance of success, the party with 75 seats out of a council of 214 seats, would need the buy-in of ActionSA, which has 19 seats and the EFF with its 23 seats.