Tales From the Dead

he cried for help, but none came

Was Soonthra ‘Samoo’ Chetty’s pen mightier than a sword? He protested the injustices meted out to his workers and lost everything, including his life. His story should rile those who failed him

In Brief

  • This unedited letter sent by Soonthra ‘Samoo’ Chetty to the Provincial Office of the Public Protector is one of the numerous letters in our possession exchanged between Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, Raj Maharaj Associates, the Office of Public Protector and lawyers
  • Officials at the regional Public Protector's office made Chetty a marked man when they forwarded his letter to the alleged corrupt individuals
  • People who knew Chetty say he was intelligent and efficient, but appeared agitated for months before he was murdered.
  • The usually non-violent man suddenly found himself storming Council meetings to demand answers. He was desperate because the system had robbed him of his dignity

26 Nov. 14

Provincial Public Prosecutor Representative

Dear Madam


I request your office to urgently intervene in this matter. This is not a fresh complaint, and I do not blame your office for not timeously working on it, I fully appreciate the workload in your office.

For updating your records, I was appointed in November 2011 to complete a Motherwell Thusong Centre which is intended to benefit the community of Motherwell with respect to the services that were meant to be put closer to them but due to abuse of power, lack of controls and corruption in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality this building remains incomplete and I remain unpaid. My appointment was through Raj Maharajh Architects whom I understood as agents of the Municipality at the time.


I entered into a written contract with Raj Maharaj Architects who was appointed as the Architects and Agents of the Municipality. All the Payment Certificates show that the Municipality is the Employer. The issue of who the employer is and what Raj Maharajh played in this process has become moot. While I have been spending hundreds of thousands in expensive arbitration processes, it has come to my attention that the following has occurred in the project and I am in fact a victim of what is shown above:

  1. The budget for the payment of consultations was R 5 000 000.00,
  2. According to a gazette that regulates the payment of architects Raj Maharajh Architects should not have been paid more than R 3.1 Million.
  3. Raj Maharajh has been however paid R 9.1 Million
  4. Other consultants have been paid another R 1.8 Million
  5. The value of the project was R 36 000 000.00
  6. The cost that were apportioned for construction were R 31 Million
  7. At the time when the previous contractor was forced out of site it had only been paid R 21 Million. Therefore an amount of R10 Million should have been available to complete the project.
  8. I priced the outstanding work at R 7 894 736.84 excl VAT.
  9. When the value of work I did was R 4.9 Million my contract was terminated.
  10. Exactly on day when I was supposed to be paid my certificate for R1.8 Million my contract was illegally terminated instead of my certificate being paid.
  11. Of great concern to me is the fact that I am being made a scapegoat to cover up what truly occurred in this project.
  12. Both myself and the community of Motherwell are victims of blatant misuse of money under the control of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

I therefore seek to request the Public Prosecutor to verify the following for me:

  • What was the budget for the Motherwell Thusong Centre?
  • What was the amount that was allocated for consultants’ fees?
  •  What was the amount that was paid to the consultants in this project?
  • How much money was paid to Ho Hup Corporation when they left the site?
  • What was the percentage completion of the work done by Ho Hup when they left site?
  • How did the value of work in this project for outstanding work exceed R 2.9 Million to R 10 Million after I was illegally chased out of site?
  • Why has the Municipal Manager not investigated the above issues after I had reported them to him on numerous occasions?
  • Why has the amount of R6 Million that was found to be illegally paid to Ho Hup not investigated and recovered from Ho Hup?
  • WHETHER there is a link between the amount that I am owed and the conduct of Raj Maharaj and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality where they jointly allowed costs of consultants to exceed the budget and industry standards?
  • And whether the excessive costs paid to Raj Maharaj and other consultants are not the cause of my non-payment?

I will forward supporting documentation under separate cover. 

Yours faithfully,


Samoo Chetty

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