Allegations of corruption and maladministration in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport will come under scrutiny when the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probes the claims.
This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed Proclamation R16 of 2021, authorising the SIU to investigate the department’s affairs.
If the allegations are proven true, the SIU will have to recover any financial losses suffered by government.
“The investigation will focus on the 10 August 2018 procurement of, or contracting for the construction of an 8km concrete barrier wall between uMkanyakude and Mozambique Border, and payments made in respect thereof,” the SIU said in a statement.
The tender was awarded to a joint venture between ISF Construction and Shula Construction to the value of over R85 million.
A report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure shows that only 0.166km work was completed and an enormous amount of R48 million has already been paid to the contractor. This amount was supposed to have been spent on a 3km border wall placement.
Meanwhile, the SIU has instituted civil proceedings against service providers, who were awarded a R1.2 million contract to supply 50,000 masks to the North West Education Department.
This comes after an SIU investigation revealed that the provincial department had irregularly appointed the service providers.
“It could not be determined whether masks were indeed delivered,” the SIU said.
The SIU said its investigation will determine whether the procurement and payments made in relation to the construction of barrier were done in a manner that was fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective; or contrary to applicable legislation and guidelines issued by the National Treasury or the relevant Provincial Treasury.
The SIU will also look at whether there was any related unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by the institutions or financial losses suffered by the institutions or the government.
Furthermore, the SIU will investigate any irregular, improper or unlawful conduct by contractors, employees or officials of the institution; or the suppliers, service providers or any other person or entity, relating to the allegations of corruption and maladministration.
The investigation will cover transactions that took place between 13 July 2016 and 7 May 2021, and transactions that either took place before July 2016 or after 7 May 2021 but relevant to, connected with the same persons, entities or contracts being investigated.