THE Kouga Municipality is investigating allegations that its officials interfered with tender processes when they were organising a national government event in Humansdorp late last year.
The investigation follows a request by senior ANC councillor Phumzile Oliphant to municipal manager Sidney Fadi to establish if officials from the local economic development department had dished out a tender to two companies not on the municipality’s database.
The event was to celebrate International Fishers’ Day and was attended by members of the fishing industry, government officials, politicians and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana.
During the event two marquee tents collapsed, amid bad weather, leaving 13 people with minor injuries.
Fifteen companies were awarded the total R273 000 tender to provide catering, ushering, security services and to hire the tents.
Oliphant’s letter to Fadi last month – seen by The Herald – states that community members had told him that two officials from the department had given work to two more companies without following tender processes.
According to a Kouga official, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, the two officials allegedly paid service providers cash and deducted R1 500 from each company.
“Each company was supposed to be paid R11 500, but they only got R10 000,” the official said.
In his letter, Oliphant alleges that the two companies were not on the municipality’s database.
“They were not given the tender officially, which is wrong. It is my responsibility to fight any kind of corruption in our department and play my oversight role – that is why I want this to be investigated,” he said.
Oliphant said he had also asked Fadi to investigate whether officials from his department had handled the cash payments to the companies, saying it would be illegal for them to do so when they were not finance department staff.
Fadi confirmed that an investigation was under way.
“Once there is an allegation of corruption or maladministration, it is my legal obligation to follow up,” he said.
Responding to speculations that he was whistleblowing because he was hoping to become the mayor after the municipal elections, Oliphant said: “The allegation is baseless. I have no ambition of occupying any position. I am just doing my role of oversight as a deployee of the ANC.”