Voice of the Cape

From the news desk

GATVOL lays complaint against CoCT for mismanagement of Housing Project funds

The Gatvol movement has filed a complaint against the City of Cape Town for alleged mismanagement of funds intended for a community housing project. Gatvol spokesperson Fadiel Adams said the movement filed the complaint to the office of the Public Protector on Monday, in relation to a 2008 project which sought to address housing maintenance.

The City’s Community Residential Units Refurbishment Programme earmarked 43 000 rental properties in Heideveld, Hanover Park, Kewtown and Ottery for refurbishment. According to Adams, however, only 5 000 have been completed.

Adams said two companies, namely Aurecon and Aecon, were appointed to oversee the project and questioned why the City had not followed-up on their progress.

“I come from the building industry, so I know how these things work. On a project like this there’s got to be a bi-weekly, or at least a monthly, meeting with my client where I need to keep (him) abreast with all things financial, all things structural. If the City hasn’t been informed of this (lack of progress) I have to ask, why haven’t they requested reports?”

He emphasized that it is poorer communities that are suffering, noting that majority of residents were not aware that upgrades were supposed to happen. Gatvol believes that the project was used as an electioneering tool by the Democratic Alliance (DA).

“These companies are nothing more than fronts for the (Democratic Alliance) election campaigns. If the public Protector does a thorough investigation, it’s probably going to discover these people (companies) are the DA’s biggest donors.”

Document detailing funding stipulations: AECOM TENDER DOCUMENT MANENBERG PHASE C ADDITIONAL FUNDING

The movement accused the Western Cape’s leading party of taking advantage of the poor.

“These flats are for people earning nothing to R3500 a month. These are the poorest of the poor. They (DA) are using the lives, the rights and the dignity of these people as an ATM.”

Gatvol is of the opinion that the lack of communication between the City and the contractors points to fraudulent activity. Adams highlighted documentation that implicated the City in criminal activities but was not taken further.

“We have documentation that implicates the City in a prima facie case of criminal activities. (It says) criminal charges must be laid, all dockets must be handed to SAPS and the offending contractor needs to be dismissed. To date, no charges have been laid, Saps received no dockets and the contractor still works for the CoCT.”

Document recommending AECOM dismissal: AECOM TENDER DOCUMENT MANENBERG PHASE C

Adams noted that this has been an ongoing issue but has not been successfully pursued. Apart from the City, Western Cape Mayor Dan Plato had attended a public meeting and committed to providing a response.

“I spoke to the mayor in an open-air meeting on camera and I said to him, ‘Mr Mayor you need to tell us what happened to the R600 million’. He took my phone number and promised to get back to me in a week. He has been ducking me ever since. A week later, I got a call from his (Plato’s) office saying they had an internal investigation and found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.”

The group also publicly displayed an attorney’s letter by Hayes Attorneys, stating that Aurecon was dismissed. Adams questioned why the City had not made an attempt to recover the funds or taken the contractor to court.

The City, however, said it was not within their mandate: ALDERMAN JP SMITH RECOMENDATION ON AECOM

Both Aurecon and Aecon were unavailable for comment at the time of publishing. Gatvol has since called on an investigation into all those who were involved in the management of the funds. The Public Protector is expected to respond to the complaint within 21-28 days.

VOC

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