Members of the Hewu Civic Organisation marched to the Whittlesea Police Station to question the lack of transparency in the employment of locals, and the 30% beneficiation of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME) in a R13m Whittlesea Police Station renovation tender, on Tuesday.
The group of residents handed over a memorandum of demands to the site manager of the project, where they sited their dissatisfaction about the lack of involvement of the community as is normally done with other projects.
One of top priorities in the memorandum was ANC councillor Papama Madubedube who members of the organisation dubbed a “bulldozer” for thinking the buck started and stopped with him in matters concerning the community.
The organisation treasurer Ayanda Mxhosana indicated that Madubedube appointed a few locals of his choice, including the community liaison officer (CLO) without consulting the community.
“Normally when a contractor is going to work in a particular area it is introduced to the community by the councillor so that the employment of local people is discussed, but that did not happen.
“The councillor appointed a CLO, which is not a deployment post, but was supposed to have been advertised so that transparent and fair processes could be conducted. There was supposed to be a community meeting to inform the people about the position so that suitable candidates could apply and those eligible be shortlisted,” he said.
Mxhosana said the councillor thought he could hire and fire people in community projects as he pleased and that he was untouchable.
“There are two gentlemen that he fired and appointed the children of well-known people.
“We did not speak to him about our concerns because when we established this organisation we invited him, as the councillor of this area, so we could work together, but he refused to meet with us and instead brought ANC people,” he said.
The treasurer said they were also not satisfied with the lack of transparency when it came to the national policy of 30% SMME beneficiation.
“This is a R13m project and we are not quite sure about the beneficiation of local SMMEs. There is no transparency about the SMME involvement, but the contractor said he would meet with us on Thursday to discuss the matter further,” said Mxhosana.
EMLM spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa said the project was initiated by the department of public works last year and that Madubedube got involved through a meeting co-ordinated by the community policing forum.
“Madubedube advocated for the introduction of the project to communities who had no knowledge of it at the time.
“An advert for the position of the CLO was published and interested individuals sent their applications. After the recruitment process was conducted an appointment was made. Currently, over 15 local people of ward 19 to 27 have been employed in the project. Furthermore, 15 young people from surrounding wards will participate in a learneship programme which also forms part of this project. It is unfortunate that some local organisations are making demands to be responsible for recruitment of labourers for the project,” said Kowa.