Beitbridge border fence contractors say dept got what it wanted for project

The R40 million border fence, erected as part of the COVID-19 emergency procurement last year, was found to have been irregular and the Department of Public Works and the SIU were trying to recover the millions of rands involved in its construction.

The border fence that separates South Africa and Zimbabwe near the Beitbridge border post, near Musina, on in October 2020. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Judgment in the Beitbridge border fence trial involving the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and two companies who built the fence will be delivered at the end of the year or in early 2022.

The SIU Special Tribunal heard on Monday that one of the irregularities in the project was the prepayment of R21.8 million before the work commenced.

The case brought by the Special Investigating Unit is being heard in the Johannesburg High Court.

The SIU wants the Special Tribunal to set aside the contract for the shoddily built fence, which the Department of Public Works signed off with the two companies.

The R40 million border fence, erected as part of the COVID-19 emergency procurement last year, was found to have been irregular and the Department of Public Works and the SIU were trying to recover the millions of rands involved in its construction.

But the Beitbridge border fence contractors - Magwa Construction and Profteam Construction - said that government got what it wanted for the project.

Advocate Etienne Theron, representing the respondents, said that the proper construction of the fence would have cost more than R300 million.

Theron submitted that his clients had been subjected to “character assassination”.

On the R21.8 million pre-payment, the contractors said that they were advised by the department because the lockdown regulations meant that the payment could not be processed.

The 30-day emergency project was also done within a prescribed time before it was handed over to the Department of Public Works.

Theron said his clients performed according to the specifications.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.