Eastern Cape DA leader Nqaba Bhanga wants answers from metro on drought intervention plans

Nelson Mandela Bay's combined dam levels are sitting at 21,73%
LOW LEVELS: Nelson Mandela Bay's combined dam levels are sitting at 21,73%

With Nelson Mandela Bay’s dam combined dam levels sitting at 21,73% on Thursday, DA provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga is demanding answers from the city on its drought intervention plan.

Bhanga announced on Thursday the party had launched a promotion of access to information act application to the municipality’s drought mitigation projects covered by the R200m drought funding.

The metro received a backlash after it failed to spend a cent of the municipality disaster recovery grant [MDRG] funding.

“The funding was received in the 2018/19 financial year and not a single cent has been spent to mitigate the water crisis, even though the average dam level of the city’s main supply dams stands at 22%," Bhanga said.

“The municipality has indicated that the entire amount of R200m has been committed to the Coegakop Wellfield project. The project is at a standstill as a result of appeals in respect of the bid adjudication committee (BAC) award.

“In our PAIA application, we are requesting all documentation regarding the tender award/s and contractual agreements between the municipality and contractors relating to the Coegakop project funded by the MDRG.

“The documents must include but not be limited to tender specifications, contractual agreements, price specifications, and procurement plans. It must also include details about any objections and/or appeals in respect of the final award.”

Infrastructure executive director Walter Shaidi proposed at a council meeting in February that the city hire seven contractors to tackle the city’s more than 10,000 reported leaks.

Bhanga added the DA had asked Bay acting city manager Noxolo Nqwazi to release any information pertaining to this tender that would ordinarily be made public if requested.

He said should the information still not be forthcoming, he would turn to the courts for the appropriate relief.

Bhanga alleged that the metro planned on spending only R21m of the R200m it received for drought disaster funding.

Infrastructure and engineering political head Andile Lungisa said he would wait to see Bhanga’s application before commenting.

“Nqaba is playing politics because he knows the money has been committed to a water treatment project,” Lungisa said.

“A tender was awarded, there was an objection and now that case is sitting with the bid adjudication committee. There is no way we can flout budget and treasury processes by spending money that’s been committed.”

Bhanga said he had instructed DA MPL Retief Odendaal to write to finance MEC Mlungisi Mvoko to intervene in the metro so that the city does not lose out on the funding.

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