City of Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina has defended the tender processes and costs with regards to its acquisition of chemical toilets.
On Wednesday, during a media briefing in Germiston, he told journalists the City had provided 39 000 chemical toilets to around 600 000 people, an increase from the 9 000 it had initially planned for in 2014.
Masina said this had resulted in the budget increasing by up to R872m and not R1.9bn as reported.
The increase in funds over time was also said to be no surprise and it happened in order to achieve the target of having five families using one toilet.
This was in accordance with the "national housing code of 2009: emergency minimum service level guidelines", which called for the improvement of sanitary facilities in informal settlements.
According to investigative unit amaBhungane, the metro spent R1.9bn on the toilet tender, which was allegedly a "get-rich-quick scheme" for underperforming contractors.
It also alleged that the project was sourced from 16 small suppliers and occurred over three financial years, leaving many residents with dirty and broken toilets.
Masina insisted that the tender was above board and that oversight had been done.
"City officials visited the aforementioned sites, verifying the requests and confirmed the number of units required by counting the number of dwellings in informal settlements."
But Masina, in dismissing the claims, added while he took on the responsibility as mayor, the tender was awarded in June before he took control of the municipality.
"Remember the work of political oversight is to ensure if you ask me were 39 000-odd toilets supposed to be delivered? Yes. Are they being cleaned as per the contract? The answer is yes. Is there any wrongdoing that you have picked up? The answer is no," he said.
No one to blame
Masina added he would never blame his predecessor, Mondli Gungubele, and his administration, even though the chemical toilet agreement was signed under their watch.
"I will not sit here and point fingers at Bra Mondli, because I don't expect the person who comes after me to do so," he said.
"If I faulted somewhere, I am not a perfect human being, let the next person correct me."
He said the City was looking for a permanent solution, which included giving people serviced sites to build their own homes, adding that those who have invaded unoccupied land would not be assisted as the municipality could not be seen to endorse such actions.
But Masina said it had to constantly find solutions as informal settlements would always be there.
He briefly touched on the countless electricity troubles that have recently plagued the region, blaming them on several factors, including illegal electricity meters, connections and unprecedented levels of cable theft.
Masina said the City would be rolling out a mass-based awareness campaign as well as finding ways to work closer with Eskom.