Public Protector’s office seeks answers from Letaba Muni over security company appointments

LIMPOPO – The Greater Tzaneen Municipality is working around the clock to furnish reasons to the Office of the Public Protector (PP) as to why the institution, which is currently swimming in a pool of debt, apppointed two security companies, providing a similar service at an exorbitant fee.

A fortnight ago, the Office of the Public Protector wrote to the Municipal Manager, Serapelo Matlala, demanding answers as to why the municipality appointed a second security company to guard its premises and councillors.

Read more: Tzaneen muni hires bouncers for protection after ‘attacks by riff-raff’

The PP also wanted Matlala to provide all documents relating to the appointment of the company and furnish reasons why the company was appointed in the first place. This includes the evaluation and adjudication documents, council resolution and payment receipts and the balance remaining for the company, among other things.

The PP gave Matlala until October month-end to respond. In September, the municipality appointed Ulwazi Security Group to offer security services at the municipality at a cost of more than R700 000 for a month’s services. The move has irked the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the Office of the PP.

Its service contract lapsed on 15 October, but the company continues to render services. The appointment of Ulwazi came after another security company was hired to provide similar services.

According to Samwu, MBS Security is paid roughly a R1 million a month for security services. “This means the municipality pays the two companies roughly R1,7 million a month for the same service, while thousands of indigents go to bed on empty stomachs. We need answers. We cannot afford to fold our arms while our money goes down the drain,” explained Chairperson, Moses Malatji.

The municipality said they hired the second company as councillors were no longer safe at the municipal building during meetings after an earlier incident in which councillors were attacked during a meeting.

CV can confirm that Matlala was assaulted by angry construction workers, who accused the municipality of failing to pay their invoices. In light of this, the municipality opened a case of assault at the Tzaneen Police Station. Three more special council sittings were later disrupted by the same workers in a push to get payment, but all to no avail.

The owner of Ulwazi, Bongani Mabitsela said he had tendered for services and got the job.

“Because of the sterling work our company is offering, the municipality opted to extend our contract.”

Spokesperson for the municipality, Nevil Ndlala said an internal security risk assessment has determined that there was still a security risk at the municipal buildings. He said, as a result, the services of Ulwazi were extended for another month. Ndlala said the municipality has dispatched one of its directors to submit answers to the PP as per instruction.

“We will play by the book because we have nothing to hide,” he said.

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Source: Capricorn Review