Public Works Dept wants company behind Beitbridge border fence project charged

The Department’s acting Director-General Imtiaz Fazel said that an investigation into the project found the process did not comply with procurement guidelines.

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

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure wants the company contracted to upgrade the Beitbridge border fence criminally charged.

Minister Patricia de Lille and her department’s officials on Tuesday briefed Parliament on the Beitbridge border project, which was found to be irregular.

The fence cost the department over R40 million and was upgraded because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department’s acting Director-General Imtiaz Fazel said that an investigation into the project found the process did not comply with procurement guidelines.

Fazel said the cost was inflated by R17 million. He added that the company and the principal agent in the project would be pursued by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

“It is also recommended that the department should register a criminal case of fraud against the principal agent, the main contractor, and the identified officials for misrepresenting to the department that the project’s progress was achieved,” he said.

Fazel said that the fence was not effective and had been breached over 100 times.

“On 4 and 5 May 2020, we recorded at 115 breaches of the fence, which led to an untold number of unlawful crossings between South Africa and Zimbabwe,” Fazel said.

He said that the report would also be forwarded to the SIU Tribunal, which has the powers of a High Court.

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