What’s going on at Wonderboom airport?

Whistleblowers tell OUTA how the current Wonderboom airport management flouts Tshwane contract policies and still gets paid by the city.

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20/11/2019 12:25:01

What’s going on at Wonderboom airport?

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) was approached by whistleblowers who revealed the serious state at Wonderboom airport.

The City of Tshwane (CoT) is believed to have hired a private company to manage Wonderboom Airport in contravention of City procurement rules and policies.

Wonderboom Airport is owned by the City that holds the airport licence from the SA Civil Aviation Authority and is deemed to be an asset of the City.

In terms of the licence and the Civil Aviation Regulations, a senior person – an individual – must be appointed as the accountable manager or compliance officer.

Instead, the City hired a private company in 2017 to manage the airport and who then appointed one of their own employees as the airport manager. The licence conditions were not amended to allow for this.

“The appointment of the private company as manager of Wonderboom Airport was irregular in that they have expertise in airport security training and risk and asset management and not in airport management,” said OUTA in the letter to the City. “In terms of the licence conditions, the position of Airport Manager refers to a person and said person must be employed by the licence holder, in this case the CoT.”

The City is believed to have flouted its own procurement rules when the private company was appointed by inventing a fictional doomsday scenario. The license of the airport would have been revoked if an airport manager was not urgently appointed. 

The appointment of a private company to manage the airport was made in November 2017, however, the appointment was subject to the drafting and signing by both parties of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) before any work could commence.  The private company commenced its work in November 2017 but the SLA was only signed by both parties six months later, in June 2018. The Auditor General’s (AG) report on the CoT shows that all payments from November 2017 to June 2018 was classified as irregular expenditure.

This contributed to the AG’s finding of the CoT’s R5 billion irregular expenditure in its most recent financial audit report.

OUTA wrote to the City of Tshwane on 5 November 2019, calling for answers to the allegations it received.  In the letter to the city, OUTA specifically asked for the city to cancel the contract with the private company and for a qualified airport manager to be appointed. OUTA also requested that the city recoup the money which was paid to the private company for the period of November 2017 – June 2018. Additionally, OUTA has urged the city to investigate and take action against the individuals involved with the deal.  To date, OUTA has not received any response from the City and will continue to engage in order to find answers to its concerns. 

A copy of OUTA’s letter to the City of Tshwane is here.

OUTA is a proudly South African civil action organisation, that is purely crowd funded. Our work is supported by ordinary citizens who are passionate about holding government accountable and ensuring our taxes are used to the benefit of all South Africans.