Ekurhuleni waste crisis reaches new heights with SIU investigation over irregular waste collection contract
by Cllr. Tiaan Kotzé — DA Deputy Shadow MMC for Environmental Resource and Waste Management in Ekurhuleni
Date: 30 April 2021
Type: Media statement
An investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into allegations of corruption and maladministration in the City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) and the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, is the latest crisis to hit the Department of Waste — a department characterised by gross mismanagement and maladministration.
The signing of a proclamation by the President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, authorizes the SIU to investigate the awarding of a suspicious waste tender to Enviro Mobi to the value of R27-million back in October 2018. The CoE appointed the company to supply a further 70 three-wheeled vehicles, known as tuk-tuks, at a contract price of R7,8-million.
From the inception of the project, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Ekurhuleni was opposed to the tuk-tuk rollout for a number of reasons. Legislatively, the project did not follow the correct procedure, as it was rushed through and did not serve before the relevant Oversight Committee for proper deliberation. Financially, there was no plan to ensure the project’s sustainability despite the major financial implications it would have on the Metro. Logistically, the project lacked detail in the sense that there was no viable rollout plan for the tuk-tuks, no storage plan, no ownership plan, no maintenance plan and no detail on driver requirements. Finally, there was no communication with councillors or ward committees on how the project would be rolled out and no engagement with the community on how they would be affected by the introduction of the tuk-tuks.
As a result, the DA has long been on the trail of the tuk-tuks and has been pressurizing the incumbent ANC and coalition partners* to provide feedback and comprehensive reports on how they were practically assisting the community in the processing and disposal of solid waste. The Party has been on record demanding the release of a full report on the procurement around the tuk-tuk project in the relevant Oversight Committee, only to be left frustrated by unanswered questions and requests. The MMC for Environmental Resource and Waste Management Services, Ald. Khosi Mabaso, was supposed to table the report at the Virtual Council Meeting on the 29th of April 2021 but withdrew the report before it could serve.
It was therefore unsurprising when in February this year, during an unscheduled site visit to the Platkop Landfill Site, DA members came across the 70 tuk-tuks dumped in a state of total neglect gathering dust and rust and surrounded by overgrown weeds. Most of the vehicles had flat tyres, stolen batteries and were not serving any function to the community — an appropriate metaphor for the state of the City’s Waste Department.
To see the video on the state of these tuk-tuks, which were promised by the City to be delivered to the community by 2019, follow the link below:
To this end, the DA in Ekurhuleni welcomes the SIU investigation into the tender awarding process. Following the outcome of the investigation, residents of Ekurhuleni will finally have clarity into the true nature and intentions of the ANC and their coalition partners* who are behind the notorious tuk-tuk project.
Of great concern is that the tuk-tuk contract is just the latest of a string of crises that highlight just how broken the Department of Waste is under the ANC and their coalition partners*. For years, residents have endured the poor leadership of MMC Mabaso and Head of Department, Faith Wotshela, which led the DA to launch a Motion of No Confidence in the MMC at the January 28th 2021 Council Meeting, which was ultimately dismissed by the Speaker of Council, Ald. Patricia Kumalo. Such action reflects the complete mismanagement and maladministration of the Department, which has led to many of the service delivery failures that most communities in Ekurhuleni are currently experiencing, leaving residents in a desperate state.
It is high time that the Department of Waste come to terms with the waste crisis that is engulfing our communities. The SIU must follow every lead and carry out its investigation to ensure that the perpetrators are held to account and to ultimately ensure that waste collection returns to an acceptable standard as per the county’s Constitution.
*Coalition Partners: African Independent Congress (AIC), Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), Patriotic Alliance (PA) and Independent Ratepayers Association of South Africa (IRASA)
Cllr. Tiaan Kotze
DA Deputy Shadow MMC for Environment Resource and Waste Management in Ekurhuleni