R5-million corruption, fraud training contract dismissed – it wasn’t lawful

A consultant who was awarded a contract to train 745 officials and councillors in the Makhado Municipality in Limpopo about corruption and fraud prevention has had his claim for payment of R5-million dismissed.

The Limpopo High Court dismissed a claim by Gobela Consulting against Makhado Municipality for services offered.

The court held that the awarding of a contract to train the officials was not done in accordance with the municipality’s supply chain management policy and the law.

In 2011‚ Abaphumane Mavhandu‚ director of Gobela Consulting‚ read in a newspaper a notice disclaimer by the municipality wherein it was stated that there were problems of corruption within the municipality.

Mavhandu then offered his services to the municipality for training its officials and councillors. He admitted during the court hearing that the municipality did not make any invitation to him.

The municipal manager Shadrack Tshikalange asked Mavhandu to submit a proposal.

In May 2011‚ Mavhandu received an appointment letter from Tshikalange for his company to train the officials and councillors.

The programme was to run from May to November 2011 at a cost of R7‚500 per person.

However‚ Mavhandu was told that the programme was to be rolled out in stages and the trainees would be divided into four groups.

Mavhandu was to provide the venue for the training.

Based on this‚ Mavhandu employed extra staff and entered into service agreements with other four facilitators to assist in the training.

On the day the training was due to start‚ Mavhandu was informed that there was a dispute between the mayor and the ANC Youth League and training could not start.

He then sued the municipality for more than R5 million.

The municipality pleaded that Gobela’s appointment was invalid and unlawful as it did not conform with the Municipal Finance Management Act and the municipality’s supply chain management policy.

These provide that the municipality should have a competitive bidding processes for procurements above R200‚000.

The Act also provides that a municipal entity was not obliged to consider an unsolicited bid received outside its normal bidding process.

In a judgment passed by the court last week‚ Gobela’s claim was dismissed with costs.

Deputy Judge President Fikile Mokgohloa said applying legislation to the matter‚ it was clear that the appointment of Gobela to review and develop the anti-corruption strategy for the municipality‚ albeit a good initiative‚ was in breach of the provisions of the legislation.

“Therefore such appointment is invalid and will not be enforced‚” she said.

This article was first published on timeslive.co.za