The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (Misa) aims to release an expression of interest in March, followed by a tender, for a pioneering framework contract in the municipal water and sanitation environment. Through the process, Misa, an agency falling under the Department of Cooperative Governance, aims to award zero-value contracts by July to managing contractors across 20 regions. Print Send to Friend 4 0 Municipalities would then have the option of contracting against the framework contract – where the mark-up is fixed and transparent for three years – with the winning bidder or bidders in their region. They could also sustain those defined contract terms across multiple water and sanitation projects for three years, without having to reissue a tender. Misa CEO Dr Sean Phillips tells Engineering News Online that the concept is designed to make it “easier, quicker and cheaper” for municipalities to procure contractor services for urgent water and sanitation works.
However, he stresses that Misa has agreed with the National Treasury not to make it compulsory for municipalities to use the framework contracts. “If we can prove, though, that these contracts provide good value for money, then the National Treasury might consider, at some point, requiring municipalities to explain why they purchased more expensively outside of these contracts,” Phillips reveals. The idea is also to reduce the scope for corrupt procurement, but much hinges on Misa itself overseeing a corruption-free procurement process. Once the contracts are awarded, though, there should be good visibility of what the market-related price is for managing-contractor services. The decision to pioneer the model in the water milieu arose from an analysis, which showed an urgent need to accelerate the delivery of greenfield and brownfield water and wastewater projects across various municipalities. The analysis was also informed by the Department of Water and Sanitation’s Blue Drop and Green Drop certification process, which highlighted dire backlogs in a number of territories. Phillips says framework contracts have already been partially proved in the accelerated delivery of new universities in Kimberley and Nelspruit, as well as in the roll-out of university accommodation and other infrastructure at the University of the Witwatersrand. Infrastructure Options director Dr Ron Watermeyer, who is consulting to Misa on the creation of the framework contracts and an associated information technology monitoring system, says the model deviates from the traditional “one job, one tender” approach. Instead it favours having contracts in place to allow municipalities to proceed rapidly to project development as soon as they are scoped. “So if there are multiple projects spread over a number of years, the municipality can use the existing relationship to move from one job to the next,” Watermeyer explains, adding that project and development outcomes are likely to improve as lessons are transferred form one project to the next and community and empowerment relations are sustained. The idea is to ensure that fewer resources are dedicated to procurement, while more resources are focused on project implementation. Early contractor involvement is also expected to reduce the project lead times. Separate project managers and cost consultants would, however, also have to be appointed to ensure adequate checks and balances and to protect the client’s interests throughout. “It’s a mind shift, because you are moving from buying a refurbished water-treatment plant to buying a service, over a period of time, to refurbish and build new water-treatment capacity,” Watermeyer explains.
The Department of Water and Sanitation and the City of Tshwane have decided to take immediate steps to address the recurring problem of sewage spillage at Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Works in Pretoria.
The Enforcement Unit in the Department yesterday met with senior management of Tshwane Metro Council to discuss the matter. This follows complaints by members of the public about the foul smell that came from the plant and through routine investigation by the Enforcement Unit. Subsequently, the Enforcement Unit issued a directive (notice) in terms of Section 19 of the National Water Act of 1998 for the council to address the problem urgently.
On 19 January 2011 the department issued the Waste Water Treatment Works with a notice to issue a directive in terms of the National Water Act. It related to the recurring overflowing of sludge from the sludge lagoons (maturation ponds) into the Apies River as observed during a site inspection carried out on 09 December 2011.
The DWS Enforcement Unit then met with Tshwane officials in terms of the Inter-governmental Relations Framework Act to discuss the matter further. At the meeting two parties identified the overloaded plant and the presence of sludge as the main problems. A tender was later issued by Tshwane for a professional company to refurbish the facility but that tender was cancelled due to ‘fronting’ by the successful company. A second tender was then issued in 2014 and that was also cancelled when time lapsed.
There was subsequent agreement that council officials will go on-site on the 23 July 2015 to assess the situation and check what is now needed. The City of Tshwane will send an action plan to DWS within 7 days of the inspection.
The Deputy City Manager also mentioned that he will assist with the procurement. It was agreed that these meetings will be held on a monthly basis where council will have their internal meetings bi-weekly. These meetings will be held until the operation at the WWTW runs at 100% capacity.