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Tue May 31 22:02:00 SAST 2016

Tshwane mayor not playing open cards on R4.65 billion broadband deal: DA

Sipho Masombuka | 24 February, 2016 12:50
“…Ramokgopa has tabled the contract in council for approval [on Thursday]‚ but has failed to table the critical objections of National Treasury‚ Gauteng Provincial Treasury and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services‚ which is a clear attempt to mislead council and citizens of Tshwane‚” he said. File photo
Image by: SABC

Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa has been accused of attempting to force through council a “dodgy” R65-billion broadband deal despite National Treasury's objections to the legality of the contract.

Solly Msimanga‚ the Democratic Alliance's (DA) mayoral candidate for Tshwane‚ said the Gauteng Provincial Treasury and the National Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services have also raised serious concerns regarding the procurement process.

“…Ramokgopa has tabled the contract in council for approval [on Thursday]‚ but has failed to table the critical objections of National Treasury‚ Gauteng Provincial Treasury and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services‚ which is a clear attempt to mislead council and citizens of Tshwane‚” he said.

Msimanga said the National Treasury specifically instructed Tshwane to table their objections and reservations in council‚ despite what Ramokgopa is attempting to do.

He said Tshwane has concealed the fact that National Treasury had requested further documentation on the legal compliance and the business case for the broadband project.

“Frightfully‚ the guaranteed minimum total value of the 18-year contract‚ before adjustments for inflation‚ is R4.65-billion with no emergency brakes to any cost escalation. Furthermore‚ the report to be tabled in council tomorrow‚ only mentions the number of comments received and that they were duly answered by the administration‚” Msimanga argued.

He said no mention was made in the report about the ongoing enquiries of the National Treasury into the project‚ and added that councillors have also not been informed of any public participation comments received‚ that should‚ in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA)‚ be considered by councillors in committee or in council.

According to Msimanga‚ the broadband contract was effectively to be awarded to a middleman shelf company‚ “Newshelf 1327 (Pty) Ltd”‚ incorporated a few months ago.

“In the letter from National Treasury they highlight issues of non-compliance to supply chain management procedures‚ affordability‚ the fact that the expense is not budgeted for and compliance issues with the Telecommunications Act‚” he said.

Selby Bokaba‚ Tshwane metro spokesperson‚ said the planning‚ tender processes and agreement negotiations took a long time to finalise.

He said a public participation process was undertaken in compliance with Section 33 of the MFMA during November and December 2015‚ and January 2016‚ wherein the public was encouraged to provide comments on the draft agreement with the service provider.

Bokaba said‚ as per the project timelines‚ the council report was to be tabled in the council meeting on Thursday but this had been moved to next month.

“…Due to delayed and ongoing engagements with stakeholders‚ such as National Treasury‚ the item will have to be withdrawn from the council agenda for tomorrow’s sitting on request of the ICT Department of the City of Tshwane‚” he said. – TMG Digital/The Times

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