Johannesburg – City Power is embroiled in a battle over a R1.5billion tender awarded to almost 60 companies and is threatening to land its chief executive Lerato Setshedi in jail.
However, Setshedi wants to fight the ruling by the South Gauteng High Court demanding that he provide reasons why he should not be jailed by November 2, according to a highly-placed source in the utility.
Setshedi agreed with the board to take special leave in June and in his absence, Malope Ramagaga, acting group executive responsible for enterprise support, has been holding the fort with normal delegated powers.
City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena earlier told Independent Media that Setshedi agreed with the utility’s board to go on special leave.
The scathing ruling delivered by acting Judge Frank Snyckers stated that City Power must embark on emergency procurement using a closed list of bidders that have already been assessed.
Judge Snyckers said the emergency process must be completed no later than the end of the next month and that the companies currently responsible for the contract must continue as an interim measure.
However, Independent Media has learnt that the lucrative contract has also been referred to the City of Joburg’s investigative unit headed by former Gauteng Hawks head Lieutenant-General Shadrack Sibiya to probe the matter.
City Power had approached the high court to allow it to re-advertise the contract before Setshedi was placed on special leave in June.
Setshedi had picked irregularities before the awarding of the contract and some of the processes were delayed by the pandemic.
Independent Media has been told that the delay in awarding the contract could have disastrous consequences across the country’s economic hub.
The highly-placed source said all the documents that were wanted by the court were available but that City Power’s legal division was sidelined from the process.
City Power bosses were unhappy that Ramagaga undermined them by unilaterally working on court submissions without involving other executives.
He also ignored the legal advice and insisted on the use of the legal consultants who took away the investigations of irregularities launched by the suspended Setshedi from Sibiya.
Sibiya is yet to finalise and release the report on his probe.
The Star’s sister paper, the Sunday Independent, has previously reported that some of City Power’s executives have accepted millions of rand in kickbacks from companies that benefited from contracts awarded by the utility.
A whistle-blower’s report revealed that one manager used his position to swindle money out of City Power, which he then used to fund, among others, his soccer club ABC Motsepe League outfit Baberwa FC, luxury houses, several properties, and cars for himself and his family.
Other senior officials have also been implicated in maladministration, conflict of interest and collusion with service providers.