The Beit Bridge fence upgrade and its aftermath do not, at present, appear to be headed to court and the investigation which revealed the fence “not to be fit for purpose” is now part of the presidential proclamation on Covid-19 corruption.
“The outcomes of investigations in terms of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s COVID-19 corruption proclamation will – hopefully – lead to criminal charges,” Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow deputy public works and infrastructure minister Samantha Graham-Maré said.
The fence, erected at a cost of about R1 million per kilometre was supposedly an intervention by Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille to prevent the spread of coronavirus from neighbouring Zimbabwe. The 20km of fencing each side of the Beit Bridge port of entry was breached, apparently by Zimbabweans, within days of completion. This prompted De Lille to call those responsible “crooks” and call for troops to be deployed to patrol the newly fenced area.
Explaining the situation as it presently stands Graham-Maré said the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) was commissioned by De Lille’s Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI). “This means it doesn’t carry the same weight as an SIU report done under as presidential proclamation”.
“For now, it seems internal disciplinary processes are being followed. According to a weekend response, nobody has been suspended at this stage. The SIU investigation is ongoing and interviewing relevant officials.
“Right now, nobody is saying much about the Minister and what will happen to her.
“We will keep pressure on the various bodies and as soon as we have definitive information to warrant the laying of charges, we will look at doing it ourselves. We do not need to wait for anybody else to do that. We are making sure we have a solid case before proceeding,” Graham-Maré told defenceWeb adding the former Cape Town mayor did something similar before and “we didn’t make sure our case was strong enough to stop it”.