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DA alleges millions unaccounted for in Nelson Mandela Bay drain cleaning project

Feb 5, 2019
DA alleges millions unaccounted for in Nelson Mandela Bay drain cleaning project

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Nelson Mandela Bay on Tuesday said that it has sent a forensic report, focussed on alleged corruption pertaining to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s R21 million drain cleaning project debacle, to President Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister of Cooperative Governance, Dr Zweli Mkhize, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and National Treasury.

"The alleged corruption that surrounds this project and the misappropriation of funds involved escalated to a point where eight people have already lost their lives," said DA Eastern Cape leader, Nqaba Bhanga, who is also a Nelson Mandela Bay Councillor.

"A forensic report compiled by JK Structures and Finecorp 113, has revealed that this ill-conceived municipal project, designed to provide work opportunities for local SMMEs during December 2018, was beset by corruption from the get go.

"These companies were instructed by the Metro to cede the contracts to Mbumba Projects and Sholden Lukwe Construction."

Bhanga said that in terms of the project, SMMEs would have each received a payment of R30 000, while the four previously mentioned companies, would receive R450 000 each.

Bhanga says millions on Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality drain cleaning project missing

He added that the report states: “The appointment of the companies can be viewed to be irregular, seeing that they were not appointed by Council.”

"It was further noted in the report that it is unclear if Sholden Lukwe Construction and Mbumba Projects conform to the SCM policy of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality or whether they were appointed accordingly," Bhanga said.

"The initial 600 SMMEs that were supposed to benefit grew to a total of 929 SMMEs, but after invoicing and auditing there were just 843, of which 31 were not paid.

"A further 44 companies were paid without any proof of work done. Ten of these 44 companies were paid double."

Bhanga said that the report also highlights that a letter from the Enterprises Micro Enterprises (EME) Leadership addressed to Mbumba Projects, and signed by the recently murdered Baba Ningi, instructed the company to withhold an amount of R500 from each EME Drain Cleaning Project payment.

"There is however no indication as to whether any of the EMEs agreed to this ‘subscription fee’. Even if they were in agreement, such a deduction would be highly irregular in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act," he added.

"The audit report shows that of the R21-million total value of the contract, over R2.7 million paid over to Sholden Lukwe Construction and more than R1.6 million paid over to Mbumba Projects is unaccounted for.

"This is a clear indication of how public funds have been diverted from service delivery under the watchful eye of the failing ANC-led coalition of corruption and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor Mongameli Bobani."

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