Are Ratepayers being milked?

18 Jul

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


4 responses to “Are Ratepayers being milked?

  1. basil

    18/07/2013 at 05:47

    Incompetence personified.

    It smacks of a total disregard/ignorance for/of the value of money and the ability to spend wisely.
    A similar example is reflected in the fact that the Kwadukuza municipality (KZN) spent only R4bil of its allocated R11bil annual budget when there was/is a desperate need for investment in infrastructure and service delivery in the area.

    Sadly, many (public servants) hold/occupy positions of authority but lack the education, experience,capacity and wisdom to take the necessary decisions and/or act in a manner befitting of such responsibility. Their incompetence is buffered/funded by ratepayers who increasingly, are as ignorant of financial management as their elected civil servants. Their ignorance breeds tacit acceptance of incompetency which has become the norm.

    The Auditor General’s reports are a constant and glaring indictment of the state of affairs.
    The persuasiveness of their knee-jerk reaction to blame the “legacy of apartheid” for their ills, is fast evaporating as ratepayers become more ‘sav” but regrettably this mantra has broad and deep public appeal and will yet serve to hide and camouflage their incompetence for a while.

    I won’t even venture to go down the corruption road on such issues……

    Exposure via the media is a desirable remedy but unfortunately it too is losing its credibility other than a few exceptions of objective reliable reporting…such as Carte Blanche…

    Sighhhhhh! The prospect of achieving any improvement in the foreseeable future is becoming more remote as we approach the 2014 election circus season.

  2. Colonialist

    18/07/2013 at 18:16

    Your title should have been: ‘We all know ratepayers are being milked, but you can hardly believe by how much!’
    There is something really insane about the country where officials at all levels are able to get away with things like this, and at the most there are a few minority wails and moans. Those come, of course, from those who are actually doing the funding, but they are outvoted. Never mind a means test, but voters should all have a brain scan and the vote given only to those who are found to have one.

  3. 68ghia

    19/07/2013 at 14:46

    The thing with government – it’s not being run like a business.
    And you’re right – it’s not their money they’re spending.
    Also, it’s not as if the people supposedly looking after us has all that much intelligence other than how to line their own pockets. Because you can be sure that there were quite a few kickbacks on all of those deals…

  4. adinparadise

    20/07/2013 at 13:54

    It’s all so disgusting. How many backhanders are we the rate payers footing the bill for? Nothing I read about the corruption in this country, shocks me any more. 😦


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