City of Cape Town facing law suit for 'omissions' in desalination plant contract
Quality Filtration Systems submitted and won its tender based on the pollution estimates given by the City of Cape Town, but when it started building the desalination plant the company found the water needed much more treatment than indicated by the municipality.
CAPE TOWN - Day Zero may be a distant memory for Capetonians, but one of its ripple effects is likely to reach the courts.
A local company awarded a contract to build the temporary V&A Waterfront desalination plant is suing the City of Cape Town, accusing it of not honouring its contractual obligations.
In January 2018, Quality Filtration Systems got the tender to build the desalination plant that was successfully commissioned in March 2018.
Quality Filtration Systems submitted and won its tender based on the pollution estimates given by the City of Cape Town, but when it started building the desalination plant the company found the water needed much more treatment than indicated by the municipality and it notified the City of Cape Town about this.
The company said it had to install extra equipment to try and treat the abnormal seawater quality, and found it was more polluted by raw sewage than the city had indicated.
“It was extremely different and some of the data was omitted, like the sewage in the ocean. And we’ve learnt that the city was aware that there was sewage in the water,” Musa Ndlovu, the director of Quality Filtration Systems, said.
LISTEN: City of Cape Town in dispute with V&A desalination plant contractor
Ndlovu said the company then spent millions of rands to modify its operations and to ensure the water produced met national drinking standards.
“We had to install extra filters. Our operating costs increased as we had to change them every eight hours instead of once a month,” she said.
She said the company told the city about the increase in costs.
Ndlovu said the company had no choice but to terminate its contract with the city as a result of multiple contractual breaches, including non-payment.
She said the initial contract was worth R53 million, but that the city only made one payment of R1.7 million.
The company wants to sue the municipality for the full contract value, plus damages.
When approached for comment, the City of Cape Town told Eyewitness News it was still consulting with its lawyers and officials were drafting an official statement which would be released soon.
Meanwhile, Mayor Dan Plato said the city was aware of the situation.
"I have discussed it with the city manager. Our solid waste department is addressing it in a very appropriate manner,” said Plato.