Two senior directors in former Tshwane mayor Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa’s office face internal disciplinary hearings next month over botched renovations to the City Hall that wasted R90 million.
The project was awarded to contractors at a total cost of R138 million – R88 million more than was required. A sum of R90 million was fully paid after approval by the then mayor’s office, said new mayor Solly Msimanga.
Msimanga said the two directors, along with other council officials, had been served with notices to appear and further referrals to disciplinary hearings would follow after investigations that were presently ongoing.
These pending disciplinary hearings follow the laying of criminal charges by Msimanga last month against other senior “masterminds of corruption and maladministration” and bring to five the number of people facing either criminal or administrative charges.
Criminal investigations by the Commercial Crimes Unit are ongoing.
“The Tshwane City Hall upgrade project was tainted by corruption and fraud at the very highest levels and was forced through and managed directly by the previous mayor’s office,” said Msimanga. “The people of Tshwane were robbed of R90 million in corruption and I am determined to see justice done.”
The wasteful expenditure incurred on the project included the installation of bathroom tiles at four times the market price and wallpaper at R4 000 per metre, among other inflated prices. Msimanga said the “scheme” created by Ramokgopa’s office signed off the R138 million upgrade over a period of four years while “sidelining the council’s chief financial officer, ignoring the National Treasury and failing to pass the budget through council as required by law”.
The contractor for the project was preselected by Ramokgopa’s office at R88 million more than was required, he said.
“The people of Tshwane were robbed of tens of millions of rands at City Hall.
“There is no value to show for the enormous amount spent and the city deserves answers.”
The appalling building work also caused major damage to the City Hall, compromising its structure and causing R18 million damage to the organ, which is said to be the largest in the southern hemisphere.
“The project now lies unfinished after the city paid over R90 million.
“In this project, it appears that officials were complicit in breaking the law, inflating prices and allowing the contractor to fleece the City of Tshwane, while destroying parts of the City Hall building,” added Msimanga.