Gauteng MEC of co-operative governance & traditional affairs Lebogang Maile has asked Tshwane mayor Randall Williams to respond to allegations that he ordered officials to support his decision to approve an unsolicited bid proposal for the refurbishment of power stations.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Maile said the formal letter was prompted by media reports that Williams ordered officials not to take a R26bn contract for the refurbishment of the city-owned Rooiwal and Pretoria West power stations to tender.
According to media reports, an audio recording has surfaced in which Williams could be heard allegedly instructing officials to support his executive decision for an unsolicited bid on the project.
Maile said the allegations are serious and have far-reaching ramifications for the integrity and governance of the office of the mayor and speaker.
He said section 106(1)(b) of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act empowers him to designate a person to investigate if he believes that maladministration, fraud or corruption has occurred.
“It is appropriate before exercising my powers in terms of section 106(1)(b) of the systems act, to afford the mayor an opportunity ... to provide me, within seven days of receipt of my letter, with a comprehensive response to all the allegations levelled against the mayor and his office pertaining to the unsolicited bid in question. The response must include relevant and applicable supporting documentation that has a bearing on the matter,” Maile said.
On Tuesday, the ANC in Tshwane said it will be submitting a motion of no confidence in council against Williams because of the allegations and the failure of his administration to deal with the problem of water quality in Hammanskraal.
Williams’s spokesperson, Sipho Stuurman, said Maile’s letter had been received. Williams is preparing a response “that will demonstrate that there is no truth to the allegations that have been made against him”, he said.
In a statement released later in the day, Williams said that reports from opposition parties have been misleading.
He said the city received an investment proposal from a consortium that sought to lease the land on which the city’s power stations are based to install gas turbines. The project has a potential to add 800MW to the city’s power grid, he said.
“In view of the current increased and continuous levels of load-shedding by Eskom, the proposal presented significant value to the city in terms of advancing energy independence. I felt it critically important that the lease proposal be brought to the attention of the residents of Tshwane to get their public inputs.
“Furthermore, the investment proposal presented immense economic benefit as it would have injected about R26bn of investment into the city over the long term ... there was no proposal on the table by the city to put in place a tender pertaining to the city’s power stations,” Williams said.
He added that the city is not planning to issue a tender as this is an investment proposal to lease the land.