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By Liam Ngobeni

Freelance journalist

‘Rot’ runs deep in ‘corrupt’ Tshwane metro municipal vehicle contracts – official

In the three years since the start of the deal, the contract has set the metro back more than R1.5 billion, an official has revealed.

Some Tshwane metro police officers have to pay out of their own pockets for the servicing of their work motorbikes, as official contractors simply took too long to effect repairs.

This was revealed as the metro said last week it was optimistic it would get out of an expensive “no-value-for-money-contract” to maintain its large fleet of vehicles.

“There is a six to 12 months backlog,” a Tshwane metro official, who wished to remain anonymous, told Pretoria East Rekord.

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“Right now, there are more than 200 municipal vehicles just parked at workshops, awaiting repairs or service.

“If the officers had to wait, it would mean not having a work bike for months.”

Last week, the court dismissed an interdict application by the contract holder to prevent the metro from procuring vehicles from outside the contract.

The matter was set to be heard in the High Court in Pretoria again on April 15 and 16.

“This contract should never have come into being in the first place,” said corporate and shared services MMC Cilliers Brink.

The contract covers anything from motorbikes for the Tshwane metro police, to bakkies used by repair teams.

Under the contract, the metro pays R9,646 to rent a BMW motorcycle per month, R52,200 for a Land Cruiser, and R7,395 for a bakkie, excluding added maintenance costs.

According to a Pretoria East Rekord source, the “rot” in the deal was growing worse by the day.

“Vehicles which have been written off over a year ago are still being paid for,” the source said.

The official claimed rampant corruption was the order of the day.

“The way quotes are manipulated to draw out more money is shocking … some officials have been fired in the past, but it still goes on.”

In the three years since the start of the deal, the contract has set the metro back more than R1.5 billion.

“The metro has developed a strategy for owning instead of leasing vehicles,” said Brink, who added that the current administration inherited the fleet management contract from the previous administration.

“At the time, there was a breakdown of internal controls and the city had little idea of how many vehicles it owned, or leased, or where they were even located,” said Brink.

In some instances, fraudulent and inflated invoices were submitted by service providers. In other instances, invoices were not paid. This resulted in service providers charging the metro for holding costs.

Brink, however, denied allegations that more than 200 vehicles have been left standing at workshops for up to 12 months.

Dust and cobwebs have gathered on this vehicle.

“The industry standard is to maintain an 85% – 90% fleet availability at all times, and we have maintained this standard.

“It is not unusual to have 450-675 units, or 10-15% of the total fleet, in for repairs or maintenance at any given time.

“Depending on the nature of work, some vehicles are maintained and repaired in the city’s workshops, or sent to external service providers. A proper procurement process is now in place before any vehicle is sent to a service provider,” said Brink.

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