Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) is not satisfied with information provided by Patricia de Lille’s Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) for the Beit Bridge border fence contract.
The fence, projected to cost R37 million, of which R21 million has been paid so far the public accounts watchdog heard this week. The committee supports a directive from law enforcement that no further money be paid on this project until all investigations are completed.
The committee raised concerns about the lack of answers to questions posed at a meeting with Minister De Lille and senior staff from her department. It is clear from presentations made there are questions that need answering as far as value for money, due diligence, competence and contractor selection process are concerned according to a Parliamentary Communication Services statement.
SCOPA awaits the National Treasury report on the contract due next Friday, 12 June. It will be the basis of the committee’s work moving forward. The committee is aware the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has been to the project and conducted assessments. The committee asked DPWI to supply the SIU report as soon as it is available. SCOPA is also aware the Auditor-General was requested to conduct a special audit of the project and will liaise with Kimi Makwetu’s office.
The committee is planning its own oversight visit to the Beit Bridge project as soon as conditions allow, so it can satisfy itself on the condition of the fence before compiling a report. At the next engagement on this matter, Scopa will Both the Department of Defence (DoD) and the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will be asked to respond to involvement in 40km fence upgrade said initially by De Lille to be part of the national coronavirus effort.