The third-busiest airport has been left in a chaotic state, marred by allegations of maladministration, irregularities and non-compliance with domestic and international aviation standards.
A report presented to council last month by the city’s oversight committee for roads and transport said the airport had deteriorated in the past two years, and it called for a forensic investigation into the airports poor state of affairs.
Following threats by the Civil Aviation Authority to shut down the airport two years ago as four inspections found it endangered those using it, Tshwane appointed a company in an attempt to save it.
But the reappointment of the Professional Aviation Services (PAS) had several transgressions such as not amending the airport licence conditions to allow the appointment of an outside service provider, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has said.
In a letter signed by OUTA’s legal project manager, Andrea Korff, which was addressed to Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe, mayor Stevens Mokgalapa and acting city manager Moeketsi Ntsimane earlier this month, the organisation listed information pertaining to mismanagement of the airport emanating from the PAS contract.
The contents of the letter came from whistle-blowers who approached the organisation to reveal the state of the airport.
As licence holders of the airport, the city had to appoint an airport manager who must be a person employed by the licence holder.
But the city requested a deviation from the supply chain management regulations to reappoint PAS, the letter said.
Instead of bringing the request to the supply chain management department, who must consider whether the deviation complies with Section 18 of the Tshwane SCM policy, the city instead allegedly sent the request to the Bid Adjudication Committee.
It is alleged that the city also incorrectly applied regulation 36 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) by reappointing PAS on a month-to-month basis for 12 months at a price of R828,000 per month, an exorbitant R575,500 increase compared with the previous contract.
The company then proceeded to commence work immediately without signing an agreement.
The deal was awarded on 14 November 2017 but the service level agreement (SLA) was only signed by both parties seven months later on 14 June 2018 and 19 June 2018.
“… the official appointment conditions explicitly state that the service provider may only commence with the work when the SLA is duly signed. The Auditor General’s report confirmed that payments made to PAS between November 2017 and June 2018 were classified as irregular expenditure.”
The PAS, however, does not have airport management expertise, Korff said, but specialised in airport security training and risk and asset management.
“As a matter of urgency, we call on council to re-evaluate and subsequently cancel the said contract, recoup the monies spent and appoint an airport manager as prescribed by Part 139 Subpart 2 (13) Civil Aviation Regulations of 2011,” Korff said.
Tshwane MMC for Roads and Transport Sheila-Lynne Senkubuge said the requested deviation was to extend the contract of the outgoing company as time was required to appoint a suitable service provider who would partner with the city in an advisory capacity.
The prolonged signing of the service level agreement was due to its vetting by the group legal department, she said.
“The service level agreement is signed after careful consideration of all operational matters in line with the issued scope of work, and this normally takes time to conclude and is vetted by our group legal department.”
The city worked within guidelines by the Civil Aviation Authority to comply with the licence conditions, she said.
“The city does not have the mandate to run an airport without external assistance … We have been engaging the Civil Aviation Authority who is responsible for giving us our licences … we have followed all policies and principles that the CAA authority says we should.”
A forensic investigation into previous and ongoing allegations of maladministration and corruption at the airport was currently under way as the scope of work had extended, Senkubuge said.
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