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Heads must roll over R42m irregular spending on CT homeless camp, says Herron

26 January 2022 11:58 AM
Tags:
City of Cape Town
SIU report
Brett Herron
Irregular spending
Strandfontein camp
Covid-19 contracts
homeless camp

Morning Review host Lester Kiewit chats to Good Party secretary-general Brett Herron.
  • Good Party's Brett Herron says there must be consequences after the SIU's irregular spending finding against the City of Cape Town
  • The SIU found that the City blew R42 million in irregular spending on the Strandfontein site which housed homeless people during the hard Covid-19 lockdown in 2020
  • The SIU released its final report on dodgy Covid-19 contracts across all spheres of government this week
  • Herron says Cape Town's city manager and CFO must be taken to task over the irregular spending

The Strandfontein site, in Cape Town, which is housing homeless people during the COVID-19 lockdown. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN.

Top city officials must be held accountable for the R42 million that was blown on renting marquees for the controversial Strandfontein homeless camp, says Good Party secretary-general Brett Herron.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has released a report which declared R42,293,285 spent by the City of Cape Town to rent marquees for the site as irregular expenditure.

Hundreds of homeless people were moved to the Strandfontein sports grounds shortly after the national Covid-19 lockdown began in March 2020.

The controversial camp was closed within two months following complaints about the living conditions at the site.

Herron forwarded a complaint against the City in August 2020 asking SIU investigators to look into the R53 million spent on contracts for the Strandfontein site "profited excessively" to the detriment of the municipality.

RELATED: Herron wants SIU to probe City of CT for blowing R53m on Strandfontein camp

In a report released on Tuesday, the SIU found that Downing Marquee Hiring, the service provider that billed the City for the leasing of tents.

According to the SIU, the investigation found that the procurement process followed by the City in sourcing the various items and services required from the company was irregular and as such falls to be set aside.

RELATED: 8 key points from the SIU's final report on government's dodgy Covid-19 tenders

The report states that the City "failed to test the market in circumstances where it was obliged to do so, but merely accepted the quotation submitted by the service provider concerned. As such, the procurement process was not fair, transparent, equitable or cost-effective."

"Furthermore, the investigation revealed that the failure by the City to follow a proper procurement process resulted in the incurrence of irregular expenditure in the amount of R42,293.285."

The SIU is in the process of compiling instructions to the State Attorney with a view to brief counsel to advise on the viability of appropriate civil action and recovery of the millions spent on the tents.

Herron says the municipality's city manager and chief financial officer should be called to appear before a City of Cape Town council sitting to determine whether they should face disciplinary action or be investigated for signing off on the irregular spending.

He says both City officials approved the contract with Downing Marquee Hiring without questioning the amount of money that the company was charging.

Meanwhile, the City says it notes the SIU’s finding in relation to expenditure for the Strandfontein site.

The City says it will study the detailed SIU report once it has been received.

"If there is any evidence of wrongdoing, the City will not hesitate in taking action against those responsible", the municipality says in a statement.

Where there is wrongdoing, whether it's fraud or excess profiteering, action has to be taken.

Brett Herron, Secretary-general - Good Party

What any common sense or rational person would say is that it's not possible for tents to cost R43 million to hire for six weeks in a period when there were no events taking place - so those tents were not being used for any other purpose.

Brett Herron, Secretary-general - Good Party

The irregularity for the City of Cape Town was that no procurement process was followed and the SIU identifies that the service provider profited excessively.

Brett Herron, Secretary-general - Good Party

Every government - national, provincial, local - across the country was faced with the same emergency response and had to act quickly, and other governments that provided accommodation for homeless people did not expend R43 million on tents.

Brett Herron, Secretary-general - Good Party



26 January 2022 11:58 AM
Tags:
City of Cape Town
SIU report
Brett Herron
Irregular spending
Strandfontein camp
Covid-19 contracts
homeless camp

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