Cape Town ‘perverted the meaning of BEE’

Leon leads protest against

Official opposition leader Tony Leon led nine Democratic Alliance (DA) councillors on a march from the Cape Town metropolitan council on Tuesday to protest at the way in which the Big Bay tender — a prime 14ha piece of real estate near Blaauwberg — has been handled.

Leon and the councillors handed a memorandum to Ike Nxedlana, a representative of Cape Town Unicity manager Wallace Mgoqi.

Leon said the party — which is the official opposition on the Cape Town council — outlined the case against the African National Congress (ANC) dominated council and announced the DA’s success in obtaining the signatures necessary to force a review of the council’s decision to award the tender to Jonga Entabeni, headed by ANC politician-turned-businessman Tokyo Sexwale.

The DA, which has 70 councillors in Cape Town, required the signatures of 50 councillors to force a new review.

Leon said: “We believe that the city has made a mockery of good governance and transparency in this case by conducting the key decisions behind closed doors [in the mayoral committee], arbitrarily changing the criteria for evaluating development proposals, and allowing its preferred bidder to amend its proposal after the deadline.

“The city has also perverted the meaning of black economic empowerment by allowing race to trump economic and technical criteria, and by handing one of its prime properties to a company owned by an ANC elitist at a large discount.

“Its actions will harm Cape Town’s ability to provide services to the poor and to attract new foreign investment.”

Along with the memorandum to the city manager, the DA asked Cape Town Mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo and the council to set aside their decision to award the tender to Jonga Entabeni, to cancel the current tender process and to begin a new one.

Leon said the Big Bay issue was not a matter of politics as usual. It went to the heart of the problem of municipal management and economic empowerment in South Africa, he argued.

“We need to set a precedent that upholds clean, open government and makes empowerment work for the poor, not just for a small elite.”

Leon was accompanied by councillors Kent Morkel, leader of the DA caucus on the council, former deputy mayor Belinda Walker, James Vos, Una Pick, Kenneth Lategan, Bernadette le Roux, Donne Murray, Lionel Roelf, Ian Neilson and Liz Berry.

Nearly two weeks ago, the council accepted the recommendation of its independent procurement body, the Goods, Services and Property Advisory Body which said Jonga Entabeni should win the tender. This reversed a decision taken by an independent appeals committee which had overturned a majoral committee’s decision in April to award the tender to Sexwale’s company.

The committee recommended that Sexwale’s Jonga Entabeni consortium be awarded the tender, despite its R115-million bid being much lower than Earthquake’s R147-million, and Italian company Immobilfin Immobiliare Finanzaria’s R151-million. – I-Net Bridge

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