Tender irregularities prove politically costly in BCM: Athol Trollip

There are a number of dubious tender scams that have been identified … These include but are not limited to: the plastic bin bag tender; the controversial ICT contracts; the irregular appointment of directors and the now notorious, Nelson Mandela memorial services scam

THE “Victory Ticket 750cc” tender scam might well prove to be the final straw for those guilty of systematically looting the finances of Buffalo City Metro.

There are a number of dubious tender scams that have been identified and some even investigated but whose investigation outcomes remain buried in the deliberate bureaucratic labyrinths so carefully designed by those that benefit from these scams.

These include but are not limited to: the plastic bin bag tender; the controversial ICT contracts; the irregular appointment of directors and the now notorious, Nelson Mandela memorial services scam.

The investigations by the Public Protector, SARS and hopefully the Hawks will in the near future show that this latest scam was so blatantly carried out that even the most adept at “cooking” up reports will not be able to hide this odious trail of corruption.

There is something ironic about how greed always leads to the corrupt making silly mistakes.

In this regard one can’t help but think that the plunderers of this municipality’s coffers chose the most inopportune opportunity to fleece the people of Buffalo City once again.

The passing of former president Nelson Mandela and the subsequent unprecedented outpouring of national and international grief and respect was an event that united this country in grief, just as Mandela united us in “pride” in 1994 and subsequently in “joy” in 1995 when we won the Rugby World Cup against all odds.

Those that have become blasé about stealing money in this council thought that no one would notice that the R10million, set aside to provide assistance to the people of this city to pay their last respects to the inimitable Mandela, went missing.

This disrespectful and most disingenuous act of “theft” could not have been more inopportune in that, not only was money misappropriated, it was done in the name of our most iconic son and leader.

In this regard, I regret to say that the disrespect does not end there. In the recent Ward 3 by-election where the DA fired its underperforming councillor (who has subsequently joined the ANC), the DA not only regained the ward, it grew its majority from a slender 52% to an almost unimaginable 82%, this despite the fact that the ANC exhorted voters to vote ANC and “do it for Madiba”.

There were even T-shirts printed with Madiba’s image emblazoned thereon.

Again the irony of this opportunism is inescapable. The local ANC leadership that saw it fit to disrespect the memory of Mandela by “giving” R10-million of taxpayers’ money to one of their cronies, have no scruples when it comes to abusing Mandela’s image and iconic leadership status to try and get another “comrade” elected to council.

In 2009, when he made his first state of the nation address, President Jacob Zuma said the following: “I commit myself to the service of the nation with dedication, commitment, discipline, integrity, hard work and passion.”

In response to this, I as the then leader of the opposition committed myself and my colleagues to do the same.

I said then that: “. . . we have no choice in this regard, because the people of this country have become disillusioned by what we do or do not do in parliament.”

I cautioned that, “if we don’t change the way we do things, we might hear from the people of this country what the parliament of Oliver Cromwell heard from him when he put their term of office to an end in 1653.”

Cromwell said that those representatives “had dishonoured the parliament by their contempt of all virtue and practice of every vice”.

He said: “You have grown intolerably odious to the whole nation, you are deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, yet you yourselves have become the greater grievances and enemies to all good government.”

These ancient and historic words could not be more apposite to the current crop of senior officials and political leadership in the Buffalo City Metro that, not only allowed this shameful “theft” to happen, but they facilitated it by “lubricating” the procurement process in order to make the misappropriation so simple and easy.

The voters that I met on election day on Wednesday in Ward 3, almost without exception, articulated their outrage and disgust at this shameless larceny.

The ANC will come to learn that the greedy among them and especially the pseudo (Gucci) communists that hold sway in this province and municipality will ensure that the ANC’s term of government will end prematurely and certainly long before “the return of Jesus Christ”.

The writing is on the wall and the byelection result in Ward 3 is a salutary warning that the days of blind political loyalty to the liberation struggle and its heroes have come to an end under the dubious leadership of Zuma.