Legal wrangle over toilet deal

A file picture of VIP toilet frames have been lying around the village of Madliki when te siyenza project was suspended
A file picture of VIP toilet frames have been lying around the village of Madliki when te siyenza project was suspended
Image: ALAN EASON

A corporation which says it supplied thousands of pit toilet structures to the Amathole District Municipality during the R632-million Siyenza Group toilet tender scandal, is suing both the AMD and Siyenza for R19-million it says it is owed.

Izwelethu Cemforce CC says in court papers it supplied some 3 287 VIP toilet structures to the Mbhashe and Mnquma regions at R5 830 per unit for which it never received payment from either AMD or Siyenza.

Izwelethu claims that it was the initial winner of the 2013 tender to supply and install all the Ventilated Improved Pit toilets (VIPs) as well as providing site support for AMD’s accelerated sanitation programme.

But, shortly after getting notification of the award and the letter of appointment, the politically connected Siyenza Group was effectively helicoptered in as the project implementer.

Izwelethu said the Siyenza Group wanted Izwelethu to remain the supplier but at a lower cost. It declined the offer. What followed was a meeting with the then AMD municipal manager Chris Magwangqana who reassured Izwelethu about its concerns on the legal and logistical changes to the project.

According to court papers, Magwangqana told Izwelethu that the project was falling behind and he wanted the corporation to follow through and supply the toilets to Siyenza on behalf of the AMD. He said Izwelethu could charge its original tendered rates of R5 830 per structure and the AMD would pick up the bill for all services rendered once Siyenza had signed off on it.

A reassured Izwelethu agreed to these terms and proceeded to supply the structures.

In June 2015, it duly supplied some 3 287 toilets. This was months before the contract between the ADM and Siyenza was set aside.

At the end of June, the ADM instructed Izwelethu to supply and install the goods it had already delivered, cancel all goods it had ordered and stop performing all other work until instructed otherwise. It was at this stage that the ADM brought an application to declare its own contract with Siyenza as unlawful. It undertook to pay Izwelethu what was owed.

Izwelethu’s Grahamstown correspondent attorney Mark Nettelton yesterday said that neither the AMD nor Siyenza had entered any notice to defend.

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