Public Protector’s office confirms Edison smart meter investigation

The South African Public Protector’s office has confirmed they will investigate a questionable R1.25 billion (US$141 million) tender awarded to the Edison Corporation.

HumanIPO reported in January that Mmusi Maimane, National Spokesperson for the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Johannesburg caucus leader, called for the investigation into the Johannesburg smart meter tender awarded to billionaire businessman Vivian Reddy’s Edison Corporation following irregularities outlined by a detailed Mail & Guardian report.

The R1.25 billion (US$141 million) contract was allegedly manipulated to favour Reddy, an individual who is a key benefactor of South Africa President Jacob Zuma.

Maimane said the DA received the Public Protector’s confirmation on Monday, February 4, that it will be investigating the contract awarded to the Edison Corporation to install electric smart meters in the City of Johannesburg.

“We warmly welcome this investigation. The Public Protector has indicated that the investigation will be conducted by its good governance unit. We will cooperate with the unit and provide all the assistance we can,” said Maimane.

Maimane and the DA demand answers as to why the tender had been inflated from R800 million (approximately US$89.9 million) to R1.25 billion following the awarding of the tender to the Edison Corporation, why the original bid scores were altered to Edison’s advantage and why the decision was taken to award the tender solely to Edison after a recommendation by the bid committee to award it to multiple bidders.

Maimane and the DA also want to know what role the City of Johannesburg’s power managing Director, Sicelo Xulu, played in altering the bid scores.

“We believe that the process followed in awarding this tender was fundamentally flawed to advantage Mr Reddy’s company. The Public Protector must now get to work to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible,” concludes Maimane.

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