GEORGE NEWS - A forensic report into the Nelson Mandela Boulevard contract, listed as a confidential item on the agenda of the special council meeting that has yet to take place, is patiently waiting to be served in council.
This would be the second report of this nature, following an investigation ordered by MEC Anton Bredell. The previous forensic report on the War on Waste project cost former mayor Melvin Naik his seat as first citizen of George.
According to the DA Constituency head of George, Geordin Hill-Lewis, the ANC's refusal to attend the meeting can be directly linked to the item on the Nelson Mandela Boulevard contract. Hill-Lewis said the ANC is blocking the meeting to go ahead because they don't want the DA to root out all the corrupt contracts.
"The DA is cleaning up George, and the ANC does not want us to do this," he said. However, the ANC maintains that the item has got nothing to do with their unwillingness to show up for council. They claim flawed procedures regarding the election of the George mayor is the only issue here. They have taken legal action and are awaiting response from Speaker Gerrit Pretorius.
ANC Chief Whip Nomawethu Jantjies-Gushman said if the DA was interested to route out corruption regarding the Nelson Mandela Boulevard, SMEC as the supervising engineering company would feature in the report.
"If this report was not urgent to them three years ago, I don't see why it is a burning issue now other than the fact that they are using it as an excuse," said Gushman-Jantjies.
Bribes and corruption
Hill-Lewis said he obtained the forensic report through a Promotion of Access to Information Request to the Department of Local Government, and that it substantiates allegations of fraud, theft, corruption, maladministration and/or serious malpractice which occurred at the municipality, in respect of the upgrade to the Nelson Mandela Boulevard.
Hill-Lewis said he can reveal that some of the key findings in the report include the following: Circumstantial evidence that supports the allegation that a bribe was paid; and evidence which indicates interference by a former top politician in the George Council into the administrative affairs, such as the Supply Chain Management processes of the Municipality.
According to Hill-Lewis, the report further substantiates the allegation that the appointment of, and subsequent payments to the contractor, Muravha Building and Civil CC, were irregular.
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