The City of Tshwane is implementing tough cost-cutting measures as the new administration seeks to curb wasteful expenditure. Mayor Solly Msimanga said the Auditor General's report into the city's financial affairs prompted his administration to scrutinise expenditure and put in place mechanisms to deal with wasteful spending.
"We have already cut out on a number of parties. We have now finalised a travel policy to say how much can be allocated for traveling and what kind of classes will be used in each case," he said.
Msimanga said the AG's report indicated that the city was R2 billion in the red but he felt they were now working on turning the corner. He has been adamant since taking office that the city is not in a good financial state and feels vindicated by the report.
He said the report highlighted a number of contracts that need to be re-evaluated or cancelled to ensure the city does not continue to lose money. Msimanga said they have now implemented the open tender system which will go a long way to closing loopholes.
"We are not just getting a quote and saying this is what we are going with. We have opened it up so that we can get the best out of each rand we are spending in the city. We are in the process of finalising a catalogue that informs us how much certain goods should cost and that will help to go a long way in curbing the shoe polish issue we saw last year. We are now moving towards knowing the ceiling of what we are willing to pay and therefore whoever wants to be a service provider should fall within certain parameters," he said.
Last year the city found itself at the centre of a storm when Checkpoint revealed that shoe polish was bought at twice the retail price.
Other tenders that were flagged by the AG were the PEU contract for the roll-out of smart meters in the city. Moneyweb reported that since August, Tshwane has paid more than R300 million on the controversial smart meter contract with PEU's operating company Total Utility Management Services (TUMS).
Msimanga said the PEU contract was riddled with maladministration and unlawful acts by certain top officials coupled with irregular communications.
"We have withdrawn the defence of the contract against AfriSake. We are now in a process to come out of that contract so that we can recover the lost billions that have gone towards the contract to be able to put money towards service delivery," he said.