Letter: Paraffin contract was legit

The article “Paraffin for poor fuels outrage” (September 18) contains allegations that are factually incorrect.

The supply of free paraffin is part of the government policy of providing free basic alternative energy to indigents.

Tlokwe has some 12 000 indigents connected to the grid and more than 3 000 indigents that are beneficiaries of free basic alternative energy.

In line with national government support of the programme, funds are allocated to municipalities through the equitable share grant disbursed to local government.

Municipalities are encouraged to supplement the free basic alternative energy grant from their own income in ensuring that indigent households receive this energy. Therefore, allegations that the contract in question was not budgeted for is incorrect, misleading and unfounded.

It is also incorrect that the Tlokwe council was not aware of the tender to provide free basic alternative energy to the indigent households.

The matter was discussed during the special municipal council meeting on May 30 2014, before Dr Blaai Mokgethi was appointed as the municipal manager. Council resolved that “registered indigents, who are not provided with free basic electricity be supplied with 20 litres [of] illuminating paraffin per month.

Subsequent to the council’s approval, a tender was advertised in both local and national newspapers.

The tender was evaluated and adjudicated by relevant committees, which the municipal manager is not part of. The appointment of the service provider was recommended to the municipal manager in line with the recommendation of the adjudication committee. Therefore it is incorrect that the appointment of the service provider was made without following open tender processes.

On December 14 last year, it was reported to council that the tender to supply and deliver free basic alternative energy was awarded to the service provider and a service level agreement was concluded between the service provider and the municipality. It is misleading for the Mail & Guardian to state that the contract amounts to R171-million or R57-million a year. We made all documents relating to this matter available to the M&G showing that the allegations are far from the truth.

Tlokwe executive mayor Kgotso Khumalo and the council speaker, Barei Segotso, are shocked by statements made by the opposition in the article that say neither the executive mayor nor the speaker are taking any action against the municipal manager in relation to the latter. At a meeting on June 30, council took a decision to appoint a committee to engage with submissions as well as all other related documents. – Victor Boqo, Tlokwe mayoral spokesperson

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The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) produced this story. All views are ours. See www.amabhungane.co.za for our stories, activities and funding sources.

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