City of Joburg suspends officials over bungled Pikitup contract
The metro launches probe into failure to renew fleet rental agreement
The City of Johannesburg has suspended two senior officials who were responsible for the bungled Pikitup fleet contract with Avis, which recently led to full rubbish bins piling up for almost a week.
The city did not, however, name the officials, with group corporate and shared services spokesperson Luyanda Lunika saying that naming them could jeopardise an investigation into the matter.
The officials have been suspended pending the probe into the company’s failure to renew the contract, which provides the city with leased trucks.
The city has its own fleet, but leases additional trucks it refers to as an ad-hoc fleet.
The investigation would explore whether all steps were taken to try to renew the contract on time. If not, the investigators will look at whether there was malicious intent or negligence.
The city has had a strong focus on cleaning up the streets, but Pikitup has suffered setbacks over the past few months, including violent protests over jobs as well as the contract problem.
The permanent contract with Avis for the fleet rental lapsed in October 2017 and has not been renewed since. Additionally, an extension until the end of September lapsed, which left Pikitup workers without the full fleet it needed on October 1.
On October 5, the contract was renewed on a month-to-month basis not exceeding six months.
On Tuesday, group corporate and shared services mayoral committee member Ntombi Khumalo announced the suspension. The group corporate and shared services department is responsible for all contracts in the city.
“In an effort to ensure consistent and reliable service delivery to our residents, the city has decided to suspend [a senior official] … responsible for the processing of the Pikitup fleet tender, pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct,” Khumalo said.
Khumalo said the city’s leadership took the step after refuse removal services were disrupted two weeks ago “as a result of the inadequately managed contract”.
The contract was now the subject of investigation, Khumalo said.
“Should the investigation confirm the allegations of misconduct, the city will not hesitate to take appropriate action. As an interim measure, the city has appointed officials to act in these positions to ensure the tenders are finalised as a matter of urgency and advertised speedily,” she said.
Khumalo said residents of Johannesburg “can rest assured that the multiparty government is doing all it can to ensure that allegations of misconduct are addressed and services are not interrupted”.