Installation of drop-off boxes questioned as local libraries set to reopen come October

As public libraries of KwaDukuza prepare to reopen on October 1, questions are being asked about the replacement of book “drop boxes” at a cost of R24 500 each.

Despite the re-opening of libraries, museums and swimming pools by the Ethekwini Metro on September 10, the 6 libraries in KwaDukuza remained closed because staff did not have personal protective equipment.

“This is an important resource for the community, and we have been working to reopen the libraries. We now have the guidelines from the provincial authority and will follow strict safety measures,” said KDM library manager Sihle Mathibela.

Another drop box outside of the Ballito Library, in place of the original box inside the fence.

When they reopen, there will be social distancing and sanitation measures in place.

DA Ward 6 councillor Tammy Colley has questioned the installation of book drop boxes outside each library at a cost of nearly R24 500 each, in total R148 000.

“The Municipal Financial Management Act requires that when public funds are used there must be value for money. In a time when funds are tight across the board, there must be even more emphasis placed on sound procurement processes and value for money,” said Colley.

Mathibela said the drop boxes were a way to minimise human contact and to ensure that all outstanding books could be returned safely.

The drop boxes were created by using the closed quote system (SCM), which covers projects at a cost of between R30 000 and R200 000. 

“Library Services and the Municipal Civil Department were consulted for the purpose of providing guidance on this project. In terms of procuring library drop boxes, SCM process was followed and the lowest bidder was awarded the job,” said Mathibela. 

“The Umhlali library drop box was falling apart and Ballito library drop box was inaccessible due to the library being fenced. These facilities have been well used in the past and needed updating.”

Libraries will be open Monday to Friday between 9am and 3pm and closed on Saturdays for disinfecting and sanitising of the buildings.