'Weed out corruption'

DURING the festive season many residents complained about the uncut grass in our parks, open spaces and our cemeteries. I agree our public open spaces were a disgrace.

The three-year grass cutting contract was already advertised on September 5 2012, but due to strike action by municipal employees at supply chain management, the tender documents were never opened and the tender validity period expired. In January last year, the renewal process started all over again. Due to a mayoral resolution that non-technical contracts must not be advertised, the whole process again stalled for several months, until it was agreed that grass cutting is, as a matter of fact, a technical job. The contract was due to expire at the end of August last year and, at last on August 14 the contract was renewed – one-and-a-half months later.

The parks department had included a functionality table to determine the capacity of those bidding for tenders, but they were told to remove the table. This resulted in many of the newly-appointed contractors not being able to do the job as they lacked capacity and did not have the equipment to cut the grass.

Where it took the previous contractor a day to cut the grass in St George's Park, the newly-appointed contractor took three weeks! This again resulted in a situation where back-up contractors had to be appointed and that is why our metro looked like a jungle over the festive season.

While grass-cutting and weed spraying in our parks and cemeteries have started again, it is important for the public to know that our supply chain system is flawed and corrupt and failing our residents. Supply chain management is a breeding ground for corruption that undermines service delivery across the metro.

I will be demanding a review of all the contracts awarded for grass cutting and for an investigation into each tender, so as to determine who is responsible for appointing incompetent contractors and to ensure that this does not happen again.

Our new city manager must investigate the supply chain management as it has become a "hand-brake" to service delivery in our city.

The city manager surely knows that it should not take more than a year to award a contract!

When the DA takes over in 2016, cutting out corruption will be our top priority in order to ensure quality services are delivered to all. Our residents deserve better.

DA Councillor Brenda Matthee, Member of the Public Health Standing Committee, NMBM