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Scopa: Beit Bridge border fence anchored in corruption, abuse

Members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) believe the fence, valued at R37 million, was not fulfilling the role it was intended to, calling it a waste of money.

FILE: Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille. Picture: @DepartmentPWI/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Parliamentarians have expressed concern over the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure's controversial Beit Bridge border fence.

Members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) believe the fence, valued at R37 million, was not fulfilling the role it was intended to, calling it a waste of money.

But Minister Patricia de Lille has justified the emergency COVID-19 contract related to its construction.

The Public Works and Infrastructure Department and De Lille were again before Parliament on Wednesday to explain the Beit Bridge border fence.

The meeting comes as an investigation into the contract nears completion.

A shocked Scopa chairperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, said that the contract was just an abuse of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is anchored in corruption, it is anchored in wrongdoing. It is anchored in favouritism and it is anchored in abuse and disaster.”

MPs have also questioned what prompted the investigation into the contract and whether any due diligence was done on the contractor.

De Lille said the investigation was prompted by a huge public outcry.

“The investigation was prompted by thousands of questions that were asked by the public. There were photos that appeared that some journalists were taking.”