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De Lille: I’m prepared to cooperate with any probes over Beitbridge border fence

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) found that the R40 million tender for the border fence was awarded irregularly and recommended that 14 officials be disciplined.

FILE: Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Hon Patricia De Lille in Parliament on 10 July 2019. Picture: @DepPublicWorks/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille on Tuesday said that she would not run away from investigations implicating her in the Beitbridge border fence scandal.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) found that the R40 million tender for the border fence was awarded irregularly and recommended that 14 officials be disciplined.

Parliament’s committees for Public Works, Home Affairs and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) joined the SIU on a visit to the site over the weekend.

The committee found that the money spent on the fence amounted to wasteful expenditure.

De Lille said that the investigation underway needed to be respected.

“I’m prepared to cooperate with any investigation, that’s exactly what I’m doing. I had requested the Auditor-General on 28 April already to launch an investigation. On 25 April I instructed our own anti-corruption unit and the SIU to investigate,” she said.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said that De Lille had not been exonerated.

“We have found that she was the one who wrote the letter sort of instructing some of the officials to push this matter quickly and that part of the investigation is being handled by the Treasury because it is about that instruction that was given.”

The parliamentary committees said that the prescriptive nature of De Lille’s directive remained a concern and the committees were waiting for an extensive report.

Additional reporting by Babalo Ndenze.

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