BCM mired in costly litigation


Some of BCM’s lawsuits have been dragging on for a decade, and it’s costing the metro millions.
Deputy mayor Zoliswa Matana has called for an intensive report to be tabled in council detailing all litigation matters currently being dealt with by the metro.
In response to the call, city manager Andile Sihlahla tabled a “confidential” report in the last council meeting where he revealed that the metro had spent “approximately R12.4m” on litigation during the last financial year.
In the report, seen by the Daily Dispatch, Sihlahla says BCM directorates sometimes failed to respond when asked for technical comments or inputs when litigation was launched against the metro.
“This attitude may, if not attended to, frustrate the capacity of the municipality to respond to court process in accordance with the timeframe prescribed by law.
“Directorates must respond timeously when legal services is requesting information on legal matters affecting their directorates,” writes Sihlahla.
Some of the highest claims levelled against BCM include:
Dornell Properties 697 is suing BCM for R13.5m for outstanding invoices during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
BCM has spent R695,690 on this matter so far.
Adalwa Trading instituted a claim of R11.4m for unlawful termination of contract and non-payment for services rendered.
The matter is still pending and BCM has spent R5,125 so far; and
Phumelela Africa Professional Engineers, trading as Phumaf Consulting Engineers, is claiming R2.5m for damages over an alleged breach of contract.
BCM has spent R9,859 in this matter so far.
DA caucus chair Vaughan Holmes told the Dispatch: “We have huge concerns about the state of affairs when it comes to litigation matters in BCM.
“Some of these cases are old and some legal fees have already cost us about half the amounts that are being claimed.
“In our view some of the cases should not even have gone to court. This could lead to fruitless and wasteful expenditure. We need the council to do oversight so people do their jobs.”
A senior ANC councillor, who asked not to be named, said the city was spending too much on litigation.
“Administration is doing as they please. Sometimes they take matters to court when there was no council resolution.”..

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