City must now effectively monitor contractors
The SJC welcomes the recent decision made by the City of Cape Town to not renew its contract with Tedcor.
Tedcor was awarded a city-wide contract for the removal and disposal of refuse from storage areas in informal settlements across the City for 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2012. The value of that contract was approximately R55 million. When the contract ended in 2012, despite complaints about the level of service the company was providing, the contract period was extended on a month to month basis at an approximate amount of R2.2 million per month.
Since the beginning of May 2014, the City of Cape Town has been using its own trucks to remove refuse from the City’s informal settlements.
We are not certain why the City made the decision to end the contract with Tedcor. However, Tedcor is one of seven contractors we audited as part of our refuse collection social audit in October 2013. The audit exposed serious shortcomings in the level of service provided by Tedcor (such as not collecting refuse as frequently as stipulated in the contract with the City) as well as the other contractors. Following the audit, a public hearing was organised in Khayelitsha where City of Cape Town officials were invited to listen to our findings. Since the audit community members continued to report that refuse was not collected from containers frequently and the areas around containers remained dirty and unhygienic.
For years the SJC has identified numerous problems with the service provided by companies responsible for refuse collection and sanitation services in Khayelitsha’s informal settlements. In May 2012, Mayor de Lille stated publicly in reference to poor outsourced refuse collection services that “the quality of the service (in informal settlements) is dropping because there’s no monitoring from the City’s side”.
Hundreds of millions of rands are spent every year to pay for outsourced services in Cape Town alone. The failure of municipalities in monitoring these contractors results in wasteful expenditure of taxpayers’ money. According to the Municipal Systems Act (MSA), if a service is provided through a service delivery agreement (outsourced), the municipality remains responsible for ensuring that that service is provided to the local community, and accordingly must monitor and assess the implementation of the agreement, including the performance of the service provider.
Both of our social audits in 2013 – on Mshengu chemical toilets and then refuse collection – found that the contractors providing these services are failing residents of Khayelitsha and putting their lives in danger as their health and safety is compromised. While there are penalty systems for poor performance, the lack of monitoring means companies are still paid for work they are not doing.
The new contract has been awarded to Wasteman Holdings. However, the City must immediately put proper monitoring systems in place to ensure that refuse collection for informal settlements and other services implemented by contractors are effective. Information such as service delivery agreements must be made easily available to communities to assist in monitoring these services and when a company is contracted there must be proper engagement between the City, the company and communities to ensure the service is smoothly implemented.
Unless such proactive steps are taken we will continue to experience the severe problems we did with Tedcor and other contractors.
For comment please contact:
074 386 1584