Andile Lungisa distances himself from tender letter
A letter telling a company that it had been selected to supply construction equipment to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality — with the signature of infrastructure and engineering political head Andile Lungisa — surfaced on social media this week.
However, Lungisa on Wednesday denied having written the letter, saying the issue was being investigated.
“We’ve instituted an investigation because the people involved in that letter were never authorised to write any such letter,” he said.
Councillors are not allowed to be involved with tenders, according to the Municipal Finance Management Act.
In terms of section 117, a councillor may not be a member of a municipal bid committee or any other committee evaluating or approving tenders, quotations, contracts or other bids, nor attend any such meeting as an observer.
Also, in terms of section 118(a) of the act, no person may interfere with the supply chain management system of a municipality or municipal entity.
The councillors’ code of conduct also states that no councillor is allowed to interfere in the administration of the municipality.
The undated letter states the municipality is restructuring its service provider database while adding new companies to it.
“As such, we request your assistance with providing construction plant for the period of 36 months,” it reads.
“Through our networking system, your company name has been selected for this tender, should you accept you will be required to come [to a meeting] on January 23 in Port Elizabeth.”
The letter is not addressed to any specific company but requests that the firm confirm attendance on or before January 7.
It also does not state which tender the company had been selected for, the work involved or the pricing for construction plant — which is machinery and appliances.
The executive support officers for infrastructure, engineering, electricity and energy, Simphiwe Madlavu, along with roads and transport, Nkululeko Mali, are listed as the contacts for any further information.
But Mali, when contacted, said he was not aware of the letter.
“The MMCs [members of the mayoral committee] do not get involved in tenders. That letter is not correct. Such letters must come from the executive directors. It is not correct,” Mali said.
Lungisa said Madlavu and Mali had been suspended.
He accused the two of using an electronic signature to which only he and his personal assistant had access.
“It’s only my PA and myself who have the signature so whoever attached my signature to document this used my PA’s computer.
“I had nothing to do with that letter, I became aware of it last Monday and acted immediately by allowing my staffer leave of absence so we can investigate the matter.
“They [Madlavu and Mali] are political appointees and should not be signing municipal documents,” Lungisa said.
On the suspension claims, Mali said: “I am at work. I have not been told about any suspension.
“Maybe that letter is coming but I don’t know anything about this.”
Madlavu also said he was not aware of his suspension, saying he had been at university for the past week.
“It may be that I am suspended but I haven’t been at the office for the past week so there’s been no official notification of my suspension,” he said.
He said he was first told about the letter at the funeral of former council chief whip Bicks Ndoni earlier this year.
“Andile is correct to say that we’re political appointees and we don’t deal with contractors. I haven’t spoken to any contractor regarding any appointment.
“I’m open and willing to work with investigation that is going on and the ANC is free to deploy whom and wherever it pleases.
“I hope in all of this I’m given the opportunity to defend myself,” Madlavu said.
DA caucus leader Jonathan Lawack said the letter showed Lungisa had deliberately flouted municipal laws by inviting companies to tender for construction plant.
“While service delivery in the municipality has ground to a halt and the city is on the brink of financial ruin, the ANC-led coalition of corruption is no longer even trying to hide its flouting of the [Municipal Finance Management Act].”
Lawack said in a statement that he had written to speaker Buyelwa Mafaya, asking that she refer the issue to the rules and ethics committee for further investigation.
“We will not stand by and watch the further destruction of our city by the coalition of corruption and criminal elements within it,” he said.