MTN defends controversial municipal tender

MTN defends controversial municipal tender. Picture: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

MTN defends controversial municipal tender. Picture: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

Published Jun 24, 2024


MTN South Africa has come out to set the record straight on the controversial three-year municipal Transversal Contract.

The telecommunications giant told The Star on Monday that the contract was not a tender or a pilot project.

“As per standard Transversal Contracts, MTN Business is not the only supplier or organisation that has been awarded an opportunity to offer smart electricity and water technology services to the municipalities.

“MTN Business, just like other service providers who were awarded the RT29 Transversal Contract, followed all due processes as set by National Treasury.

“It is important to note that ‘Transversal Contracts’ are centrally facilitated contracts arranged by National Treasury for goods or services that are required by one or more state institutions,” MTN South Africa said.

According to the telecommunications giant, terms outlined by National Treasury dictated that each participating metro or municipality had the right to appoint their preferred RT29 service provider aligned with their required needs of service and predetermined budget.

It furthermore said that the nature of the contract and the value depended on how many customers (metros/municipalities) are able to sell to and the services that they would buy from MTN Business.

“MTN has experience and expertise in smart metering technology, we have similar services in many African markets such as Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, and Côte d’Ivoire.”

On Monday, The Star reported that the contract was said to be designed to enhance digitisation – through the implementation of smart electricity and water technology – across South Africa’s 257 municipalities.

The RT29 transversal contract awarded by National Treasury will see MTN and other suppliers, install, manage and maintain smart metering programmes across the country.

It was said that President Cyril Ramaphosa was in the forefront of the deal, but Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya has denied that the president was linked to the MTN deal.

“Other than the obvious legal and logical fact that the president cannot and does not have any operational involvement at MTN, such a process will not work under the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA),” Magwenya pointed out.

Even though Magwenya acknowledged that Ramaphosa did have interests in telecoms, he was no longer part of it.

“Historically, he was involved in the industry which is a well-known public fact,” he said.