Canning of maintenance work angers contractors

Small municipal maintenance protest at city hall yesterday
Small municipal maintenance protest at city hall yesterday
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

Contractors from across Nelson Mandela Bay gathered at the City Hall yesterday, demanding to speak to city boss Johann Mettler after he cancelled their minor maintenance contracts.

Abdul Isaacs said the businesses were minor maintenance contractors which painted buildings and did electrical and carpentry work.

The contractors, he said, received a letter from the municipality last week cancelling their contracts after officials had found “flaws” in supply chain management.

“The tender closed in August 2016 – this is how long it’s taken them to validate the process. [It] is not finalised.

“We all received letters of appointment to do work in our respective fields, [but] all of a sudden they discovered flaws in these contracts after we [had] received appointment letters,” he said.

Isaacs accused the municipality of making a unilateral decision that had had a ripple effect on everyone’s lives.

The contractors stood outside the City Hall yesterday, singing and holding placards saying municipal buildings had not been serviced in six months.

In an e-mail dated April 26 sent by Mettler to Isaacs, the city manager says that, from reports received from corporate services and supply chain management, it was clear that there had been a flawed tender process. “The appointments cannot stand. “In the interest of fairness and justice, [a] more transparent supply chain management process [must] be [applied and] concluded in the shortest time possible,” the e-mail, which The Herald has seen, reads.
In response, Isaacs said the group of contractors wanted a meeting with Mettler and the department heads for supply chain management and facilities.

Contractor Reza Fakir also accused the municipality of not paying for work done on certain buildings.

“I was asked to do emergency electrical work and fix a leaking roof in January but I still haven’t been paid.

“We’re accustomed to working in advance and [being invoiced] afterwards, but I haven’t been paid my money.”

Contractor Sanet Jonker said she had done about eight jobs for the municipality for which she had not been paid.

Noloyiso Mohale, also a contractor, said the municipality was taking them for a ride because some had taken out loans to pay their staff.

“We need answers. When we’re taken for a ride like this, we’ll never get any answers,” she said.

Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said the municipality would not be able to spend all its budget by the end of the financial year, June 30.