Beitbridge fence contractors fight to hang on to their profits

The special tribunal has reserved judgment on an application for leave to appeal a ruling that the contractors awarded the tender to erect the Beitbridge border fence repay their profits.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The special tribunal has reserved judgment on an application for leave to appeal a ruling that the contractors awarded the tender to erect the Beitbridge border fence repay their profits.

Magwa Construction and Profteam CC, which were awarded the contracts, appeared before the tribunal on Thursday to try and overturn that order.

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They argue they've done nothing wrong, but the State opposed their application.

During arguments, the contractors argued that depriving them of their profits would signal a red flag for other parties considering doing business with the State and that they would have to do their own due diligence on tenders to ensure the State was compliant or risk being left out of pocket.

But Advocate Ishmael Semenya, representing the Special Investigating Unity (SIU), cited a previous court ruling found that willful blindness was not an acceptable excuse and if it were, that it would encourage contractors to “avoid asking the hard questions”.

Semenya argued everyone doing business with the State had to be aware of the way goods and services should be procured.

Judgment has been reserved.