Opinion

Q&A with Makana acting municipal manager Riana Meiring

Gift of the Givers says Makana municipality paid companies for work that the charity did instead of reimbursing it. Chris Barron asked acting municipal manager Riana Meiring...

26 May 2019 - 00:00 By CHRIS BARRON


Has the situation with Gift of the Givers been resolved?
I think it has. There was a meeting of all the stakeholders yesterday which was conducted in a very positive climate.
Are they going to be paid?
Well, that depends. After that meeting there was a technical committee meeting where we requested outstanding information from the Gift of the Givers.
What information?
About specific invoices we missed.
You didn't receive them?
No, no. They had to be clarified. Was this invoice for that work or this work, the number of hours.
Are you doubting what they did?
No, not at all. You should remember that before government can pay anything it must do so in terms of supply chain management regulations. There must be a cost analysis, you have to see if there was value for money, the effectiveness of the boreholes.
What about the companies you paid for work done by Gift of the Givers? Were their invoices checked?
The only company appointed was the consultant. No other company was appointed. Nothing.
Was the consultant contracted by you or Gift of the Givers?
By the municipality, because the government grant comes to the municipality. But because the money was released so late, the consultant's appointment lapsed. So the consultant did no work and was not paid.
So who has been paid?
Nobody.
Gift of the Givers say you owe them R10m.
That's what we have to determine. Gift of the Givers is a relief organisation and what was done in the municipality was not done according to supply chain management principles. So there was no costing of their work before they started. And I absolutely understand that because we were in an emergency situation. That is why we must now do the costing and see what are we going to pay for and what are we not going to pay for. You can't just have a cost estimate and you pay everything.
Didn't the council promise they'd be paid?
OK, but here is the rider. From our first meeting with the Gift of the Givers, and that's only in terms of the boreholes, not the delivery of water etcetera.
Who's going to pay them for the bottled water, the water tankers?
Nobody, because they're a relief organisation.
The municipality regards it all as charity?
Yes, and we really appreciate it. But that is part of their relief work.
Was there a misunderstanding between you about what they'd be paid for and what not?
No, according to me there was no misunderstanding.
What about the boreholes you promised to pay for?
We did say it will have to happen in a structured way.
How much did you get from the government?
R12m.
And you've still got all that, have you?
Yes.

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