A highly placed corruption whistle-blower with intimate knowledge of procurement processes in the Office of the Premier has blown the lid off circulating rumours of corruption and tender irregularities amounting to over One Hundred Million Rand since last year.
The anonymous whistle-blower has leaked new explosive information relating to a schools “emergency classroom tender” for the construction of temporary classrooms and toilets using alternative construction methods that awarded to a Johannesburg based service provider that has failed to deliver the bulk of the work.
The R100 million plus tender was awarded to a Joint Venture entity formed between Habitat Module Design JV and Reity Trading Enterprise to supply classrooms to various schools around the province.
However, the JV has been plagued with allegations of underperformance and non-delivery since it was awarded the first tender in 2016 to supply 60 schools in Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth which it has not completed.
The following year, in March 2017 the JV was awarded with another contract by the OTP to supply 92 classrooms to schools in Libode, Queenstown and Sterkspruit between March and June 2017.
But not a single classroom has been delivered to date.
This was confirmed by Habitat Module Design JV CEO, Athi Magwentshu who said that there were “a few town planning processes that the client (OTP) had failed to clear” in order for his company to begin its work.
As such, Magwentshu said he had applied for an extension of his contract to the OTP.
The other winning bidder, HDM Construction said it has delivered most of its 34 classrooms in Cradock, Fort Beaufort and King William’s Town without any of the problems cited by the JV.
HDM Director Asanda Hlanjwa ,”We have already started in all most all our schools and we hope to finish soon.”
Despite the JV’s failure to deliver on these two contracts, in June 2017 the OTP issued another tender to the JV and HDM Construction without going to tender for the supply of more classrooms to three schools at a value of R12 million.
This tender was not advertised and pushed through using Section 3.9.3 of the supply chain policy which allows government departments to renew contracts valued under R20 miilion without going out to public tender.
According to the OTP’s spokesperson Mandisa Titi said:
“Following an urgent request from the Department of Education for the OTP to intervene and assist with accelerated construction and delivery of temporary learning structures, commonly known as ‘Prefabs’…the OTP decided to add this batch onto the existing contract.”
“This practice is above board and permissible as long as the extended amount remains within the threshold of 20% of the original contract amount,” she said.
In extending this contract, the OTP disregarded the under performance of the JV and no risk assessment procedures were carried out before the extension of the contract.
There are allegations that the bid specification were leaked to Habitat by member of the OTP’
There whistleblower alleges the committee failed to disclose his professional relationship with Habitat. Furthermore the source alleges that Habitat submitted bill of quantities was almost the same as OTP cost estimate for the Tender at ratio of 0,2% to 2%.
This has left many school principals angry and confused because their schools never received any of the classrooms that the promised by the OTP.
School principal Thamsanqa Khabalaza of Gxaba Secondary School in Libode said Habitat just cleared the ground and left without telling them when they would be back.
“We are worried and we don’t know who to complain to as this is frustrating our work,” he said.
Another principal said,”The contractors arrived at the school on May 4th , and cleared the area were their going to build the extra classes and toilets, they haven’t returned since to begin construction of the classes” said Nomfanelo Guleni Principal of Makukhanye Secondary in Libode.
Sonwabile Njani, the Principal of Cibeni Secondary school said: “I have been calling them a lot they keep saying they’ll come but nothing, and we are under pressure as the school as we have over a 1000 pupils and only one toilet for the whole school” he said