SIU must investigate R38 million illegal ‘shack’ call centre

08 Nov 2023 in News
Note to Broadcasters: Please find linked soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Cllr Coenrad Herbst

The DA in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality has written to the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) to investigate the R38 million ‘shack’ call centre in Vryburg. See letter here.

Yesterday, during a DA oversight inspection of the call centre, we found the temporary facility unstaffed and locked. Following media reports over the weekend, we immediately initiated investigations into the legality of this project. See photo here and video here.

What we found in our preliminary investigations is cause for major concern. It is evident that the municipal administration proceeded with this contract without a Council resolution. The entire project is, therefore, quite plainly, illegal.

The contract, RDM2020/030A, for this call centre, was awarded to WCyber Solutions Joint Venture over a 3-year period, employing eight call centre agents. We also found that this project has not been budgeted for, and according to our engagements with some officials, there is now an attempt to ensure that this project is funded out of the 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23 budgets, which have all closed and subjected to audit, we are currently in the 2023/24 budget cycle. A payment of R4,5 million was made to the company in February this year.

This gives credence to our suspicion of criminal activity. All information available to us indicates a case of tender fraud.

It is evident that the ANC cadres elected to govern this municipality have absolved themselves from the responsibility that comes with being in government and has left this task to deployed ANC cadres in the administration.

The Dr Ruth SM District Municipality already has an established call centre and the need for this additional extension is questionable since the municipality is largely mandated to support bulk service delivery, specifically water, electricity, and sanitation in support of local municipalities in its jurisdiction.

The reality is that there is no need for a district municipality to have such an extensive call centre.

The DA has also written to the Dr Ruth SM District Municipality Mayor, Cllr Motseokae Maje, the Municipal Manager, Ronnie Jonas, and the Speaker, Cllr Kgalalelo Sereko, to convene an urgent Special Council meeting to present a detailed report on this project so that all implicated officials are identified, and that disciplinary action is instituted against them. See letter here.

We are confident that the SIU will get to the nub of this illegal project and that all implicated elected and appointed officials will be prosecuted and all funds squandered will be recovered in full in the interest of justice.