beaufort west municipality toilets

Twitter / Ntomboxolo Somdaka

Human Settlements demand nearly R2 million back for failed toilet tender

Beaufort West Municipality were provided nearly R2 million in 2017 to install external toilets, but not a single loo has been fixed

beaufort west municipality toilets

Twitter / Ntomboxolo Somdaka

After the Western Cape Department of Human Settlement provided the Beaufort West municipality nearly R2 million to upgrade ablution facilities in between 2017 and 2018, not a single toilet was put in place. 

Now the department is demanding the immediate return of the money, having sent the municipality two letters with no response having been forthcoming, raising suspicions that the money was flushed down a different drain than was intended. 

Beaufort West unresponsive to demands for toilet funds  

The money was initially provided to the municipality in the form of several instalments over the course of a year, with a total of R1 915 000 having been allocated to the project, which in its outline planned to upgrade external toilet facilities in the municipalities informal settlements. 

To date, no such work has been done. 

Provincial Human Settlements Minister Tertius Simmers said that two letters have been sent demanding the money be returned. 

“The Western Cape Department of Human Settlements has sent a second letter of demand for the immediate return of R 1 915 000.00, it provided to the Beaufort West Municipality (BWM) between 2017 and 2018, so that external toilets could be upgraded in the area,” he said. 

“The second letter, sent on 23 June 2020, follows the initial correspondence, dated 27 February 2020. The demand is based on the BWM’s failure to adhere the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the municipality and the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, where the BWM had to ‘enter into an agreement with a service provider for the upgrading of external toilets.’ Instead, the BWM sourced the local community with the intention of building the toilets.”

“Not only did the BWM deviate from the MOA, there were also no toilets built,” he said. 

Reckless management of funding  

He said that the ending had been recklessly managed, with the lion share dumped directly into the wage bill. 

“The deviation led to the failure of the project as R 1 500 252.19 or 78% of the entire allocation was spent on salaries and wages, R 205 672.60 was the cost of material supplies with a further R 43 027.21 also committed to material and supplies,” he said. 

“The total expenditure on 30 June 2018 was R 1 748 952.50, which means there was a balance of R 166 047.50.”

He said that the municipality had utterly disregarded the agreement that was put in place. 

“Although it is commendable that local labour was incorporated, it is regrettable that the municipality failed to adhere to the MOA. Due to their negligence and disregard for MOA, the people of Beaufort West are still waiting for their toilets to be upgraded.”

“There is also nothing to show for the amount of money that’s been spent. The expenditure sounds more like the municipality playing the role of an ATM and handing out money. It is unacceptable that the BWM chose to in this irregular manner spend tax-payers money.”