Operation Mabone contractor claims millions from FTLM and SIU.

BURGERSFORT – The battle between the Fetakgomo Tubatse Local Municipality and Lufuno Mphaphuli has resurfaced again.

This time Mphaphuli Consulting ( a company that was contracted for the operation Mabone initiative) is demanding half a billion rand   in damages for  the cancelled  contract.  

The claims are allegedly directed to the FTLM and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). This includes withholding payments for the work done by the company.

The engineer, Mphaphuli highlighted that the FTLM has also cost him future contracts with other municipalities. He said the FTLM had asked the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate his company without a Presidential Proclamation.

Sekhukhune Times has documents confirming that the Mphaphuli Consulting has made a R506.5 million claim, filed in the Polokwane High Court on 19 February.

Mphaphuli’s contract with the FTLM was cancelled in 2017. The project was earmarked to electrify more than 20 000 homes in 35 villages around Fetakgomo Tubatse.

“The municipality appointed Eskom and other service providers to finish off the remainder of the households in the contract, which is still valid,” he said.

This is not the first time, the FTLM  and Mphaphuli engaged in legal battles.  In 2017,Mphaphuli approached the Polokwane High Court to demand a R41.2 million payment for work done that the municipality was withholding.

This resulted in municipality’s assets being attached.  He also attached the municipality’s two investment accounts before he was paid. 

Mphaphuli indicated that he has successfully completed big projects in the past. “We implemented a similar project in Thulamela Local Municipality where 13 000 houses were electrified before the Fetakgomo Tubatse administration asked us to assist with speedy electricity connections in the municipality’s villages.”

According to Mphaphuli’ the FTLM’s  and the SIU  has cost his  company electrification contracts in KwaZulu-Natal’s Mtubatuba, Jozini, Nongoma and Abaqulusi worth R1.5 billion where the company would make a profit of about R281.3 million.

“Due to the negative, damaging, unlawful mistruths spread by the first defendant (Fetakgomo Tubatse) relating to the parties’ professional relationship, the first plaintiff’s (Mphaphuli Consulting) business operations and prospects have been hampered,” some of the documents read.

Meanwhile communities in Tubatse are still hoping that their homes will be electrified. In Praktiseer (Shushumela), and Riba Cross residents have resorted to illegal connections to have their homes electrified. In other villages equipment such as cables, meter boxes and poles had been stolen. 

This publication did not have the FTLM’s responses at the time of going to print.

Thapelo Motseo

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