DA flags more ‘dodgy’ projects by Lesseyton contractor


The R6.8 Centane Taxi Rank in Mnquma Local Municipality Picture: SUPPLIED

The Democratic Alliance says it has unraveled six more multi-million-rand contracts given to Thalami Civils, which are said to be questionable.

This follows the controversial R15-million Lesseyton sports field project that shocked the whole country in recent weeks.

The DA says two of the projects from Chris Hani include the Tsomo Taxi Ranki in Intsika Yethu Municipality worth R4m, which was completed in 2019 and phase two of the Sakhisizwe sports field at a cost of R5.4m, finalized in 2020.

DA Shadow MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Vicky Knoetze, said in a press statement today that multi-million-rand contracts given to Thalami
Civils were of serious concern.

‘’As part of our Tender Watch Eastern Cape initiative, the DA will be lodging a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application in connection to all
tenders secured by Thalami Civils.’’

Knoetze has indicated that a number of projects would be reviewed along with the aforementioned ones from Insika Yethu and Sakhisizwe Local Municipalities.

These include the R6,8m Centane Taxi Rank in Mnquma Municipality completed in 2017; the R4,4m Theko Kona outdoor sport facility finalised in 2018 in Mnquma
Municipality and the Mpukane Community Hall, with a price tag of R3,6m, completed in 2015 also in Mnquma Municipality.

One of the most recent contracts, awarded this year, is the water supply scheme in Cafutweni, Dutywa in Amathole District Municipality and is worth R41m.

The press statement indicated the discrepancies in the amounts allocated to the projects above have also been picked up, with the Mnquma municipality’s 2016/17
Annual Report listing the Centane taxi rank at R6,8 million, the Theko Kona facilities at R4,4 million, and the Mpukane Community Hall at R3,6 million.

“This is in sharp contrast to the Thalami Civils’s company profile, which puts the values at R64 million, R56 million and R35 million respectively. Thalami lists the
Sakhisizwe sports field project at R7.5 million on their profile, whereas the municipality reported it as R5.4 million,” Knoetze said.

EC DA MPL Jane Cowley, at the R4.4 Theko Kona Sports Field   Picture: SUPPLIED

She added that the Cafutweni Water Scheme project has been flagged, as another contractor who bid on the project has threatened legal action, after coming in at R22
million, against the R41 million bid of Thalami Civils.

Knoetze said: “Earlier this week I, together with DA Shadow MEC for Economic
Affairs, Jane Cowley MPL, conducted oversight at some of these projects.

“From what we saw, there is no value for money being offered, and it would appear
that these projects have been nothing more than a means to empty local municipal
coffers of funds.’’

According to her observation, Centane Taxi Rank which sits in the middle of town and consists of slanted steel roof structures on pillars.

DA MPL Vicky Knoetze shows an unconnected water tank at the R 4.4m Sports Facility, which has no water and electricity in Mnquma Municipaliy Picture: SUPPLIED

“There are three 60m2 structures and six 15m2 vendor stalls. On arrival, four of the stalls were closed, there was no electricity at the facility, and the fencing around the area had collapsed.

“Toilet facilities at the taxi rank do not have water, so residents use water collected from a nearby open manhole to flush.’’

Meanwhile, she said the Tsomo taxi rank in the Intsika Yethu Municipality has been flagged by local taxi owners as too small to use.

Knoetze added that the facility only has space for two taxis, while the rest of the space is loading zones and has no space for taxis to turn around in.

Two years after completion, she said, it was still not being utilised.

“It was the Theko Kona Outdoor Sport Facility, however, that was the most heart-breaking illustration of how residents are being robbed of their futures.

“The project is so far out from towns and villages that it could only be found using GPS coordinates. There are no roads to the facility itself, with one having to drive
over grass fields just to reach it.”

“There are two fields, of which only one could be deemed usable, a dilapidated netball court the surface of which is already crumbling, a 120m2 dressing room with no water or electricity, and a water tank that is not connected to anything. “

While travelling to these sites Knoetze said it was clear that the basic needs of residents in these areas are not being met.

There was no running water, raw sewage flowing down potholed streets, no electricity and no jobs, yet these ANC-run municipalities deemed these multi-million-rand vanity projects more important, she said.

MPL Vicky Knoetze pints out the issue of potholes in the main road of Centane next to the Taxi Rank.

“The DA will be lodging PAIA applications for all documentation relating to every tender awarded to Thalami Civils in the Eastern Cape at both local, district and provincial government level.”
“Once this documentation has been received, we will review it and will, wherever possible, follow up with criminal charges which may include theft, fraud, corruption
and collusion.

“Our public officials responsible for these tenders need to be held to account. At the very least this is wasteful expenditure. It is tantamount to blatant theft of public
funds meant to improve the lives of our people!’’