Western Cape in court bid to halt debt-ridden Kannaland council from signing R700m contract

By Tshego Lepule 17m in the past

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Cape Town – The Western Cape authorities has approached the Cape High Court to interdict the Kannaland Municipality from getting into right into a R700 million renewable power contract and ballooning its employees complement whereas severely in debt.

The municipality, which has been beneath administration since 2018, is managed by a coalition between the ANC and the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa). This was after the bizarre political marriage between ANC and DA collapsed.

Now, MEC for Local Government Anton Bredell is asking the court to interdict the municipality from interfering with the work of the appointed administrator, bar it from spending a further R300 000 to backpay bonuses and cellphone allowances, and continuing with a R735m power contract with InovaSure that the municipality can’t afford.

In his founding affidavit to the court, Bredell alleges that since November 2020, sure senior managers and political office-bearers have sought to take away the appointed administrator and undermine the recovery plan in place to enhance the municipality’s monetary well being.

“Municipality cannot afford to pay R735m for an energy security system, the entire budget for the 2020/2021 is R174.2m –approximately 23% of the price of the energy security component of the project,” learn the court doc.

Bredell argued that given how the project got here as an unsolicited bid after the company was appointed by the council to conduct feasibility research on the supply of electrical energy to Kannaland and used the outcomes of that examine to compile their bid, it was in truth illegal.

The municipality owes Eskom R18m so “the Inovasure project is untenable”, he added.

Icosa councillor Jeffrey Donson, who can be listed on the application, has accused Bredell of leaping the gun.

“Bredell is taking chances, no one saw any problem with this deal until the ANC and Icosa went into a coalition, when things started being questioned,” he claimed.

“This whole thing began with the ANC and DA and it is not a done deal like he makes it out to be. We are not going to have the project approved until it has gone through a public participation process first, that is Icosa’s view.”

Donson stated the council was served with this court application in January and has obtained many from the MEC in December, after they knew lots of people had been on go away.

“They (the provincial government) must wait until a final decision has been taken by council on this matter, he cannot tell us what to do. Instead there must be a platform to talk to us on a government-to-government level and not talk down to us and hand instructions, like they control the workings of the municipality as a local government.”

However, Bredell’s application clearly units out how provided that the municipality is beneath administration, the council can’t take unilateral selections that work in opposition to the recovery plan put in place. The recovery plan additionally checked out saving the municipality as a lot as R8.9m when together with employees cut-backs.

Bredell’s application states it’s being undermined by a decision taken by the council in December to develop its help employees for political office-bearers from six to 12, regardless of which it was not budgeted for.

Bredell argued that rising the mayor and speaker’s help employees by 5 in addition to reinstating Hendrik Barnard to head of Technical Services was not budgeted for, and amounted to mismanagement for a municipality whose debt stood at R91m in October, with 90% of it overdue.

He additionally argued the funds to two workers who had been dismissed and reinstated amounted to simply over R200 000; to cover cellphone allowances and bonuses was unwarranted. Another decision to pay out former municipal supervisor Morne Hoogbaard a R136 000 bonus regardless of him leaving in 2016 was questionable.

Weekend Argus

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