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Tender meddling – Closing of ranks against mayor

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Alleged political interference that has seemingly gotten the better of certain tender evaluation processes at Polo-kwane Municipality is reportedly leading to an explosive mobilisation of forces against Executive Mayor Thembi Nkadimeng.
According to sources a dangerous scenario was unfolding as local business owners affiliated to the ruling party were closing ranks on the mayor due to discontent over the general awarding of tenders.
“We’re up in arms. We want to defeat the enemy,” said a businessman, who referred to a declaration of war against the current system.
The past week attention was drawn to a situation apparently causing emotions to reach boiling point. More than one source raised concern over service delivery being affected by certain tenders not being evaluated and adjudicated by the municipality the past month. In this regard the same sources alluded to the fact that Nkadimeng was simply acting on instructions from the top while allegedly caught in perceived political meddling in administrative processes. From the sources it was learnt that the temporary halting of the evaluation of certain tenders was apparently related to the intended move towards the future outsourcing of procurement of certain capital projects on behalf of Polokwane Municipality.
From within political ranks concern was raised with Polokwane Observer about decisions impacting on the evaluation of tenders seemingly being brought to a halt a month ago. Sources alluded to a delay in the evaluation of tenders for capital projects due to the finalisation of possible outsourcing of procurement of projects. Already a preferred name for the successful bidder had been doing the rounds, a source stressed. More than one of the individuals Polokwane Observer spoke to stressed that neither the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) nor the supply chain policy of Polokwane Municipality allowed for such a route to be taken. However, as far as could be established from comment obtained from the municipality any possible outsourcing considered may only relate to procurement of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
The issue is seemingly one of several creating across-the-board friction about the way things are done within the City Council. From an opposition party councillor it was learnt that matters related to the intended purchase of the Mayor’s car was one of the bones of contention raised in a recent council meeting. The desire for her official vehicle to be fitted with blue lights would indicate lack of proper diary planning on her side and disrespect for the law, the councillor said. Another concern in opposition party ranks was the fact that decisions by the mayoral committee did not coincide with the initial debating by portfolio committees, added the councillor.
In conclusion it was predicted that Nkadimeng had no other option than playing along to avoid an early exit before the looming local government elections.
In comment obtained from Polokwane Municipality, Communications and Marketing Manager Tidimalo Chuene responded by saying the municipality had a procurement plan that was developed to guide the process and serve to fast-track service delivery. “Some supply chain management processes were recently temporarily halted to allow the leadership of the municipality to satisfy itself with certain aspects of the process.”
She continued stating Polokwane Municipality remained committed to its service delivery targets, which were very much linked to the procurement process. “At this point there is no reason for alarm – the existing plan will be revised as soon as feasible to cater for the temporary halt,” she stated. Asked to elaborate on the matter of possible procurement of tenders on behalf of the municipality she indicated she couldn’t be drawn into divulging information on possible outsourcing save for saying that advertisements were being placed for off-balance sheet projects pertaining to PPPs. She couldn’t commit a time frame as to when the processes would resume, but indicated the intention from Council to kick-start the process as soon as they had satisfied themselves with the issues.

Story: YOLANDE NEL
>>observer.yolande@gmail.com