ActionSA Condemns Tshwane Mayor’s Failure to Meet Investigation Deadline

ActionSA condemns the fact that Tshwane Mayor, Randall Williams, has failed to meet the Council deadline of today to table the investigation into the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant tender.

Perhaps of even greater shame is the statement from the DA’s Cilliers Brink celebrating the feedback from Williams despite the fact that the municipal council had resolved for the final investigation to be tabled today and not feedback from Williams. 

The investigation arose from a council motion presented by ActionSA in March 2022, the outcome of which was a resolution that the matter would be investigated and returned to the municipal council by the end of June 2022. The appointment of an investigator took nearly 2 months and, as such, the investigation has not been concluded by the deadline resolved by the municipal council.

The report brought to the municipal council today sought the municipal council’s regularising the absence of the investigation. ActionSA objected within the multi-party coalition structures, and against the provisions of the agreement, Williams persisted with the report.

ActionSA was worked with other coalition parties to table amendments proposed by ActionSA and seconded by the VF Plus, that were ultimately adopted by council, that require:

  • the full investigation to continue, for its findings to be tabled by 23 August 2022.
  • the extension of the investigation scope to apportion blame for the failure to meet the deadline.
  • the investigation to be sent to the Finance and MPAC committees for further scrutiny.

There must be consequences for those who are responsible for delays of this investigation as we seek justice for communities impacted by this water crisis, and its findings must be treated with the gravity of a crisis that has lasted more than 15 years.

ActionSA’s position arises from a fundamental concern that this investigation of the tender for the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant has not been taken seriously. It was ActionSA that had to force this investigation in March 2022 despite the fact that a prima facie case of corruption has been apparent in this matter for over a year. It was, in fact, only when ActionSA drove this matter that sudden commitments were made that had been absent.

While ActionSA will continue to participate with this forensic investigation, we are pleased by confirmation from the SIU that they will be investigating the award of this tender. This news arises at a time in which the company awarded the tender (owned by State Capture-implicated Edwin Sodi) has left the site without the completion of the project.

It is necessary to note that this project is the sole solution to resolve the water crisis impacting many communities in Tshwane (including Hammanskraal and Rooiwal) with water unsafe for human, animals and agriculture. The matter has been the subject of an ActionSA Commission of Enquiry (which can be accessed here) as well as the SAHRC.

It is worth reminding the residents of Tshwane that this tender is problematic for the following reasons:

  1. It amounted to a R295 million award to a joint venture with both companies owned by Edwin Sodi for the upgrade of the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  2. Neither company in the joint venture had any experience in this kind of project.
  3. The joint venture did not have the required funds for site establishment. The City of Tshwane paid R1 million upfront to float the costs of site establishment.
  4. The joint venture, in contravention of the supply chain policies of the City of Tshwane, had to be ceded R71 million upfront because it lacked the resources for the initial capital outlay.
  5. When the adjudication committee cancelled the tender award, the City of Tshwane inexplicably did not defend its decision in the legal proceedings brought by the joint venture.

ActionSA will continue to expose any obstacle to the truth being revealed as a matter of urgency in this investigation. The residents of these impacted communities deserve clean drinking water, and they deserve answers for why tenders were awarded that appear to have ulterior motives.

ActionSA places this commitment ahead of any other consideration, including the sensitivities of those who serve with the support of a multi-party coalition that has dedicated itself to fighting wrongdoing.