The City of Tshwane will spend R15m this year on developing in-house project management capacity – a job that it paid GladAfrica nearly R500m over two years to do…

In his budget speech presented to the Tshwane City Council on Thursday, Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa said R15m would be spent on an “Enterprise Project Management Unit… in-house capacity building”, to be located at the City’s headquarters, Tshwane House.

GladAfrica was appointed in November 2017 as a project management consulting firm, with a wide-ranging mandate to manage most aspects of the City’s capital expenditure budget, specifically related to infrastructure projects. The Auditor-General found that the procurement process was irregular.

According to council minutes from a February 28 sitting, the City of Tshwane paid R495 718 909.52 to GladAfrica from its inception in November 2017 until February 20 this year. The minutes also reflect that, as of February 28, the City estimated that it still owed GladAfrica more than R94m in payments.

Mutual agreement

The council resolved to end the GladAfrica contract by mutual agreement. In a letter attached to council minutes, GladAfrica wrote to the municipality in November 2018, asking for talks over possibly ending the agreement, as it had become tainted by negative publicity.

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A number of sources interviewed by News24 said that the GladAfrica contract was supposed to do two things: centralise the City’s project management capacity and assist the City in developing in-house project management capacity.

In an affidavit filed as part of his Labour Court bid in October last year, City Manager Moeketsi Mosola said that part of the reason for hiring GladAfrica was that the City lacked in-house capacity to do project management.

Mosola took the City to court to interdict the tabling of a report in council which said there were irregularities in the procurement of the GladAfrica contract.

In his affidavit, Mosola says that, at a February 2017 planning workshop before his official appointment, Tshwane officials decided to establish an in-house project management unit (PMU).

Mosola said: “… arising from the planning workshop, I proposed that the establishment and capacitation of a PMU within the City. In the interim, it was conceived that a service provider be appointed to assist with internal capacity building within the PMU. The scope of this would include infrastructure planning, project preparation, and project implementation from cradle to grave.”

Capacity building

The GladAfrica contract specifically makes capacity building a part of the company’s wide-ranging consultancy responsibilities. This capacity building was to take place on a project basis. A project management office was supposed to be established by GladAfrica, which would co-ordinate “project based capacity building and development initiatives”.

Various personnel were to be placed at this office, under the guidance of a permanent project manager or engineer, according to the contract.

The GladAfrica contract is expected to be fully concluded in June this year.

Author: News24.com