Bhisho demands answers

Date: Dec 20, 2019

Bhisho demands answers on toilet contract

Bhisho has red-flagged a R45m toilet contract between the Chris Hani district municipality (CHDM) and a Kimberley-based company and ANC MP Mandla Mandela has demanded the arrest and prosecution of those involved.

The strong reaction comes in the wake of a Daily Dispatch exposé on Wednesday which detailed how the company, Izwelethu Cemforce, had already been paid R45m to build 4,600 stand-alone toilets in Cofimvaba despite not even starting on the project.

Since the publication of the investigation, the Dispatch has also been leaked documents which show Izwelethu Cemforce was supposed to commence work  “within five days” of receiving the contract award letter or at a date agreed with the CHDM council.

The Dispatch investigation showed that CHDM awarded the contract on November 4, yet within a matter of days Izwelethu Cemforce was already invoicing the municipality. On December 6, R45m was paid into the company's account.

The Dispatch visited one of the sites in ward 2, Ntshingeni village. Not a single toilet had been built, nor were there any builders on site.

The department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) is demanding answers.

Cogta spokesperson Makaya Komisa said the department had already fired off a letter to the municipality, and also wanted law enforcement agencies to investigate.

“Cogta is shocked,” he said, adding that if the reports were true, the department would consider the deal  illegal.

“It's an assault and an attack on the dignity on those who need services from the municipality. We are also calling on the law enforcement agencies to investigate the matter,” Komisa said.

Mandela, whose grandmother Evelyn Mase Mandela (the first wife of former president Nelson Mandela) is from the Cofimvaba area, pulled no punches.  

“We call for the immediate arrest of all involved in the missing toilet saga in Cofimvaba. The National Prosecution Agency (sic) must investigate this matter and bring all the culprits to book,” he said. "We must name and shame those involved in this despicable act, and the company, its management and directors must be blacklisted and face the full might of the law.”

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