Monthly Archives: July 2013

Are Ratepayers being milked?

I happened to be checking my feeds on Twitter and came across a link to an article which was published in the Beeld newspaper (Johannesburg). It detailed how the Tshwane Metro (Pretoria local municipality) is paying far too much for goods it purchases. Once again we have the despicable practice of the local council abusing the residents and at the same time benefitting certain providers at the ratepayer’s expense.

The mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, said in his budget speech recently that he undertook to give value to the residents living in the greater Tswane metropolitan area. But it is alleged that the chief buyer of the council, Silas Mashaba , is only worried about having stock “no matter what it costs”. (It’s fine, it isn’t his money anyway!)

From information obtained by the newspaper it seems that the prices being paid for goods are inflated way beyond any market related price. The end result is that all the inflated prices are then one of the cause that the council is owed billions of Rands, which it in turn then has to bleed from those ratepayers who do actually pay their bills.

Why is no there no internal check on what is being paid out by the various councils? Don’t they have audit departments who are supposed to make sure that everything is done in a proper way? Isn’t there a process in place to actually approve the purchases?

And now that it has been found that certain companies are being favoured, and receiving inflated prices for their goods, will they be removed from the preferred list of suppliers?

Will there now be an internal investigation as to why the mayor’s undertaking hasn’t been enforced?
And will those who are found to be responsible for approving these purchases be investigated to whether they are getting kick-backs from the suppliers, and if there were tenders, why the more market related suppliers were not chosen? If they are guilty of not looking after the residents interests (who pay their salaries!) they should be kicked out without a golden handshake or another position in the council.

Here are the examples given:
June 5 2013 – 5 x 40mm galvanised pipes were ordered at a cost of R21 600, or R4 320 a pipe.
(the same pipe could be purchased for R439 at Plumblink in Garsfontein. Total cost would have been R2 195.)
Total R19 405 paid extra
June 18 2013 – 1200 Staedtler Tradition HB pencils at R10 a pencil. Total cost R12 000.
(A pack of three of the same pencils at PicknPay for R14,99. Total cost would have been R5 996.)
Total R6 004 paid extra
June 14 2013, 80 steel-handled garden spades at a cost of R250 each. Total R20 000.
(Similar spades at most hardware stores sell for max R140. Total cost would have been R11 200)
Total R8 800 paid extra

This means that for just three orders, the rate payer overpaid R34 209!

No wonder our rates just keep increasing in leaps and bounds!!


Posted by on 18/07/2013 in Uncategorized