NDLAMBE municipality awarded a R3,2-million contract to four local builders for an RDP house repairs project, allegedly without the project going out to tender.
TotT was first tipped off about the contracts by a source within the municipality a month ago. The source, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation, said it was an example of “tenders for pals”, as the four builders appointed to do the work were all ANC members.
This week was provided with copies of the four letters of appointment for the four builders – Gerald Ncamiso, Boykie Nelson, Siphiwo Matomela and Sydney Mlamla.
Ncamiso is the husband of ANC councillor and former speaker Khululwa Ncamiso.
The letters, dated January 16, said three of the men were each to be paid R824 957.28, including VAT and a retention amount, “as per (their) quotation”, while Ncamiso was to be paid R723 646.74, which is the same amount excluding VAT.
They were to have been paid 30 days after receipt of their invoices.
“You are expected to make sure that the original tax clearance certificate is valid during the duration of this contract and no payments will be made if the same is not valid,” the letters stated.
The project is for improvements to 211 houses in Nemato, and each of the four builders were awarded a portion of 48 houses.
The builder who finished first would apparently be awarded the remaining 19 houses.
The project, funded by grant money, entails wall partitions, door frames, plumbing and fittings, painting, glazing and ceilings.
TotT sent questions to municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa, and copied them to municipal manager Rolly Dumezweni, infrastructural development director Xolani Masiza – who signed the appointment letters – and finance director Howard Dredge.
TotT asked when and where the project was advertised for tenders, where funding came from, how the 211 houses were identified and how long the builders were given to complete the project.
We also asked how it was possible the four appointed builders each quoted exactly the same amount for the project (Ncamiso’s amount excluding VAT), and if that raised red flags about possible collusion.
We also asked if the men were awarded the contracts because they are ANC members.
Mbolekwa said he was in Bhisho and could not respond, and none of the other officials had responded at the time of going to print.
TotT was able to contact one of the builders, Ncamiso, who confirmed he was one of those awarded a contract but said he was busy and hung up when asked further questions.
Ndlambe Action Group chairman Derek Victor, who also has copies of the letters, brought the matter to the attention of DA councillors Ross Purdon and Ray Schenk, and had a meeting with them a fortnight ago.
“I think it strains the bounds of credulity that four different people could quote exactly the same amount, to the cent,” said Victor.
“I think the person who is not VAT-registered should be investigated to see if he qualifies for a project like this. If he turns over more than R1-million he has to be VAT-registered,” he continued.
“I think it’s evident this did not go out to tender. My source assures me it didn’t. It seems the whole process was flawed.”
Contacted for comment, Schenk said he and Purdon were still investigating the matter and it was too soon to comment.
“We need to look at this in-depth,” he said.