by Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL – DA Provincial Spokesperson for Economic Development
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Date: 10 May 2018
The Democratic Alliance has requested an investigation by the Office of the Public Protector into irregularities into a tender awarded by the Nama-Khoi Local Municipality relating to the installation of so-called SMART meters. It appears that R4.6 million has been allocated by the municipality in the adjustment budget of 2017/18 without following the due tender processes and in contravention of resolutions taken by council in this regard.
During a special council meeting in August 2016, a presentation was made by a businessman introduced as an employee of Vodacom regarding the proposed installation of meters. The meters would collect data, assist the municipality with accurate billing and therefore improve revenue collection.
It was agreed that ten clients would be identified for a pilot to test the accuracy of the meters, but a council resolution was also adopted that the administration would first present the total estimated costs of the project before any final decision would be taken. During a subsequent council meeting in October 2016, the administration indicated that it had not yet completed the estimates.
No further information or report was ever given to councillors on the project. In the meantime, residents began to complain of electricity increases and increases on municipal bills ranging from 100% to 400%. It appears that it is mostly residents with the newly installed meters who were affected by these increases.
While it is indeed necessary for municipalities to explore avenues to improve revenue collection, it cannot be that tenders are awarded left and right without the processes being followed. It also cannot be that a measure proposed to assist the municipality becomes a tool to punish residents with increased bills.
The Democratic Alliance will continue to combat any corruption or abuse of the people’s money.
Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL
DA Provincial Spokesperson for Economic Development
082 302 2117 / 079 874 6179
071 251 5558