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Londiwe Xulu
journalist
3 minute read
25 Feb 2022
06:02

Questions raised after uMngeni pays contractor R150 000 to deep clean municipal offices

Londiwe Xulu

Questions have been raised after uMngeni paid a contractor R150 000 when the municipality apparently already had an employee tasked do the job.

Questions have been raised after uMngeni paid a contractor R150 000 when the municipality apparently already had an employee tasked do the job.

The contractor was appointed to sanitise and deep clean municipal offices after about three positive Covid-19 cases were detected last week. According to a supply chains report that was tabled at the executive committee meeting this week, Ubuhle Beningi­zimu Sellers CC was paid R149 564 for the work.

Mayor Chris Pappas said the amount was not a necessary expenditure. “Even in Gauteng schools it was found that it was not necessary for them to spend hundreds of millions of rand in deep cleaning. The R150 000 is a ridiculous amount and this does need to be unpacked at municipal publics accounts committee [Mpac] in terms of value for money and if we went for the best option even though it was at short notice.”

Pappas added they also needed to find out what other big businesses were spending for the same services compared to what the municipal spent.

“I’m sure if we unpack it more we are going to find out that this R150 000 is way overpriced and highly irregular in terms of what is actually required to achieve full compliance,” he said.

“The feeling nowadays is that there is really no need to charge in and do deep cleaning because we actually have to learn to live with this pandemic …”
DA councillor Pam Passmoor

The report said it was impossible for the municipality to source quotations from other service providers so the chief financial officer instructed Ubuhle Beningizimu Sellers CC to assist with sanitising and contamination as an emergency.

However, exco members this week agreed that Mpac needed to review and investigate this expenditure.

DA councillor Pam Passmoor said the municipality needed look into the current Covid-19 regulations. “The feeling nowadays is that there is really no need to charge in and do deep cleaning because we actually have to learn to live with this pandemic. We need to review this charge for deep cleansing the whole place when one person gets Covid-19,” said Passmoor.

Acting municipal manager Mzi Mhloba said there were about three positive Covid-19 cases reported and the municipality’s current practice was that if there was a case, deep cleaning was required before the offices can be used. He added that needed to be reviewed.

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ANC councillor Zine Dlamini said councillors were previously told an official from the community services had been trained and given all the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to sanitise municipal offices whenever there was a positive Covid-19 case.

“I’m now trying to think why we then go outside when we have a manpower for an in-house deep cleaning. It was also reported to us that the offices will not be closed down if there’s been a positive case in a any of the departments.”

Mhloba confirmed there was a report stating that an official in the community services was able to assist, but said he would request a confirmation of whether the official had formal training or not.