By Kwazi Dlamini

Corruption and the City of Tshwane metro municipality are no strangers to each other. In August last year municipal manager Moeketsi Mosola was suspended on allegations of corruption and tender irregularities, even as Corruption Watch (CW) was investigating other cases of corruption reported to be taking place at the municipality. However, in November the ANC and EFF voted to defer Mosola’s suspension to the council’s January 2019 sitting, and he is still in his position.

Mosola had allegedly irregularly awarded a R12-billion tender to engineering consultants GladAfrica, and after previously denying any wrongdoing and claiming that all processes had been followed, last month he conceded the findings of the Auditor-General (AG) that the tender was irregular. Had he not done so, the AG would have issued a qualified audit finding.

Meanwhile, CW has investigated three reports of irregular activities at Tshwane metro.

Jobs for friends

One of the cases reported to and investigated by CW alleges that Mapiti Matsena, a senior executive of the municipality, arranged and influenced the appointment of friends and romantic partners to strategic positions within the municipality, including the Office of the Speaker.

Matsena was suspended in 2012, pending an investigation into allegations of corruption on a tender worth R8-million. It was alleged that he intervened in the tender process to ensure that a company that had been disqualified from the bidding process won the lucrative tender. Matsena allegedly returned to work before the investigation was completed, without any further explanation from the municipality. As recently as March 2018, Matsena still maintained his position within the municipality.

In relation to our investigation, those alleged to have been irregularly appointed include a human resources specialist, a deputy director, and a procurement specialist.

Macheda Morapama, appointed as a mobilisation specialist, responded to the allegations of her irregular appointment in a letter sent to CW. She strongly denied any crooked doings in her appointment. “I must state that the allegations against me are false and malicious…I am also aware of the source of these allegations as they stem from my past private life. I am in the interest of fairness, accountability, justice and my professional values.”

In the same letter Morapama cited the sequence of events leading to her appointment and named her ‘abusive and scorned’ ex-boyfriend as the person behind the allegations as he had vowed to destroy her after their split.

Matsena also wrote a letter to CW to address the allegations surrounding Morapama’s appointment. He too dismissed the claims that he had something to do with her appointment, explaining that he was not even part of the five-member interviewing panel, which included a union representative to make sure the process was not flawed. Matsena admitted that Morapama did not meet all appointment requirements but he said the municipality makes provision for conditional appointments while a waiver is submitted to the municipal manager, the person who approves such appointments. In this case the municipality failed to respond to a request for the waiver.

Responding to CW’s request to access information in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, Matsena stated that the municipality would not release some of the information requested for safety reasons. He added that the City of Tshwane has previously been sued by certain officials for releasing private human resources information to third parties. 

Irregular salary increase

CW received a report of an irregular salary increase for a municipal employee, which was above her official salary scale. We are in possession of a letter informing her of her approved salary notch. After the irregular salary increase the matter was reported to the department and to CW’s knowledge the employee was suspended.

However, our requests to confirm her employment status and whether there was any investigation into these alleged irregularities were not answered by the Tshwane municipality. 

Tender problems

Another report received by CW referred to alleged corruption in the City of Tshwane’s fleet and maintenance department. Company XXX received a tender from the city for installation of CCTV cameras in 100 municipal buses. The city paid XXX R1 487 750 for the tender. A second tender for research and survey for Tshwane Bus Services, worth R2 178 825, was also invoiced to the municipality, and both the invoices were addressed to the director of Tshwane Bus Services.

We are in possession of both invoices, which show that they were issued after the contract between City of Tshwane and XXX had ended. Our reporter claimed that none of the services invoiced were ever rendered, meaning XXX scored over R3-million for services they never delivered.

E-mails sent to the City of Tshwane regarding this alleged irregularity were never answered, and proof of services rendered by XXX was never provided.