ETHEKWINI NEWS FLASH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

15 September 2015

Executive Committee Decisions 

OVERSIGHT VISIT BY MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TO ETHEKWINI TO REVIEW BACK TO BASICS PROGRAMME

There will be a joint oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal by members of the National Assembly to assess and evaluate the implementation of the Back to Basics programme as well as drought relief interventions in the province this week. 

The Portfolio Committee of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Water and Sanitation Portfolio Committee and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts will visit eThekwini Municipality on 18 September 2015. 

Members of the National Assembly will meet with officials of the Municipality as well as the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

City officials who will be attending the meeting include Mayor Cllr James Nxumalo, Speaker Logie Naidoo, Chief Whip Stanley Xulu, City Manager Sibusiso Sithole and Section 56 managers including the Chief Financial Officer and Technical Services Director.

The main objective of the oversight visit is to assess and evaluate the implementation of the Back to Basics programme by Municipalities including eThekwini, assess how various government departments are collaborating with municipalities regarding interventions identified in the state of the nation address and evaluate district and local municipalities audit outcomes.

The Committee will also be briefed about the state of the drought in the province.

CITY MANAGER TO ATTEND RESILIENT CITIES LEADERSHIP SUMMIT

City Manager Sibusiso Sithole will travel to Italy to attend the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) City Leadership Summit taking place from 1- 4 October 2015. The Executive Committee today, 15 September 2015, approved the City Manager’s visit.

The 100RC was launched by the Rockefeller Foundation to assist cities around the world in building urban resilience in the face of a future where stresses such as inequality, unemployment and degradation of the natural environment and shocks such as floods and other disasters. Urban resilience is important as most of the world’s population now live in cities. Therefore building urban resilience is important to help cities prepare for these challenges.

Durban was selected as one of the first 32 cities to be included in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities programme in 2013.

A key output of the 100RC Programme is for each city to develop a ‘Resilience Strategy’. The programme will provide a significant global platform to share local innovation and thinking as well as to learn from others.

Durban’s involvement in the 100RC Programme is being coordinated Dr Debra Roberts, Deputy Head of Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department (EPCPD) as the Chief Resilience Officer. 

She will be supported by a Project Management team from the EPCPD as well as by a cross-departmental municipal team and external stakeholders.

The City Leadership Summit will be the first time Chief Executives and the Mayors of the 67 cities participating in the 100 Resilient Cities, come together to advance the practice of resilience. 

Sithole will be able to provide strategic input on Durban’s progress in the 100RC Programme as well as share lessons learnt from Durban’s resilience journey with other Chief Executives and Mayors from the 100 RC Network. 

TRADE SHOW TO BOOST DURBAN TOURISM

The Executive Committee approved the use of Section 36 to appoint service providers for the international Trade Show.

A report submitted to the Executive Committee stated that Durban Tourism launched the seven year marketing strategy which was approved by Full Council in 2013. Its main strategic focus is positioning Durban as a global city to the international visitor and tourism industry. 

This, however, requires an extensive international marketing campaign to increase the international visitors to Durban from 650 000 in 2013 to 10 million in 2020. Platforms such as the Trade Shows are fundamental to driving tourism as it provides a unique opportunity for the global travel trade industry to meet network and conduct business. 

In this case it was not feasible to follow the supply chain management policy of a competitive bidding procedure as suitable trade marketing platforms are mostly owned by dedicated service providers who have sole rights to the event.

The unit has no option other than to utilise the services of the service providers.

Meanwhile, a report on all Section 36 requests and awards made to the City during August2015 was presented to the Executive Committee.

In August 2015 there was eight Section 36 requests (10%) compared to 323 Public Tender Awards (90%).

The total number of Section 36 awards awarded during this time was R39 644 662 compared to Public Tender Awards granted during that same period which was worth R344 958 266.

Section 36 utilisation in the City was reduced by R263 177 519.53 from R1 897 435 909.14 in 2012/2013 financial year to R1 634 258 389.61 in 2013/2014 financial year.

CITY TO PAY CONTRACTOR MONEY RETAINED

The Executive Committee today, 15 September 2015, approved recommendations made by the City Integrity and Investigation Unit to return money paid by a contractor almost 10 years ago for retention and sureties. 

The unit found that the appeal of the contractor was not handled properly resulting in him being prejudiced and at a financial disadvantage. Returning the money would ensure administrative fairness by the City.

The City would also be investigating alleged irregularities in the matter and would be taking the necessary action where possible.

The company, DKS Holdings, was awarded a contract in 2005 for R18.2 million for housing accommodation for the Umlazi Glebelands Community Residential Unit. He incurred penalties when work was not completed on time.

The contractor approached the Executive Committee about the penalities who then waived the fee so work could be completed. The contractor had been paid R15.3 million for the work.

The contract was terminated when the company failed to submit a detailed programme to complete outstanding work and a new contractor was appointed. A High Court application challenging the termination of contract by the aggrieved contractor was dismissed.

R1.6 million sureties and R800 000 retention were recovered from DKS Holdings, leaving a shortfall of R2.7 million to be recovered by the contractor. He again approached the courts but was unable to take the matter further because of financial difficulties.

The court matter has now been withdrawn and the agreed to an out of court settlement. The matter was also raised by the contractor with the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC with the case referred to the City Integrity and Investigations Unit (CIIU).

The CIIU recommended after an investigation that the R800 000 retention money and R1.6 million surety be released to DKS Holding. The financial implication for the City is a loss R2.4 million.

The CIIU surmised that the appeal of the contractor was not handled appropriately by department officials resulting in the contractor being prejudiced and being at a financial disadvantage. This resulted in the contractor encountering financial difficulties and facing liquidation. In an effort to ensure administrative fairness, the CIIU recommended the refund of the retention and sureties to the contractor as well as the outstanding payments to the contractor resulting from invoices that was submitted but not paid.

City Manager Sibusiso Sithole said it has not been decided where the funds to pay the contractor would come from.

“There are certain issues here that are irregular and it has been recommended that we report these matters which we are in the process of doing.” 

EThekwini Mayor Cllr James Nxumalo said those processes would take its course and the outcome of the investigation, whether sanctions or disciplinary measures, would be taken.

ENDS 

Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Head, Tozi Mthethwa.

For more information members of the media can contact Gugu Mbonambi on 031 311 4855 or email: gugu.mbonambi@durban.gov.za​ or Princess Nkabane on 031 311 4818 or princess.nkabane@durban.gov.za