The portfolio committee on governance, human settlements and traditional affairs in Limpopo is demanding answers why the greater Tzaneen municipality paid for the accommodation and meals of “bouncers” for the leadership of the institution.
Sunday World has seen a letter written last month by the committee’s chairperson, Johanna Aphiri, in which she raises concerns about the payment of food and accommodation for security personnel of Ulwazi Security Services, which is based in Midrand.
The municipality blew R363 000 on meals and accommodation for 18 people from Ulwazi after having paid upfront R358 000 to the company. The total value of the contract was over R716 000 for security services between September and October last year.
Ulwazi provided security to municipal manager Thapelo Matlala and mayor Maripe Mangena, among others. Aphiri said in the letter that the committee had resolved that the municipality had to recoup the accommodation costs from Ulwazi as they did not form part of the service level agreement.
“The committee has noted that the municipality has made payment to Ulwazi Security Services in respect of expenses relating to accommodation and food [breakfast, lunch and dinner] despite the fact that no provision is made in the service level agreement concluded between the parties for the payment of these expenses,” she said, noting the money was not legally due to the company.
“The municipality must take measures to recover these monies from the service provider,” she added.
She added that the payment of accommodation and meals for Ulwazi personnel must also be referred to the Limpopo treasury.
The municipality has since written to MEC of Cogta Bioskop Makamu seeking guidance on the constitutional imperatives of Aphiri’s letter and the resolutions of the committee.
Tzaneen spokesperson Neville Ndlala said there was a concerted campaign to make the municipality ungovernable from May 2019 , with gatherings being disrupted and leaders threatened.
He said in September last year, protesters, one armed with a container with petrol, forcefully entered council chambers and insisted on talking to Matlala while a council meeting was in session.
On the payment of meals for Ulwazi bodyguards, Ndlala said: “The situation was an emergency as people’s lives were at stake, we used what we call emergency procurement, which is provided for in our supply chain management policy. We arranged accommodation for the security personnel and we have a service level agreement with the accommodation establishment,” he said.
“It might not be stated in the service level agreement, which is an omission on the part of the municipality, but there was prior agreement with the service provider.”