The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) will probe the KwaZulu-Natal department of transport over an R85 million tender for the building of a road barrier.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed Proclamation R16 of 2021 authorising the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of the KZN Department of Transport and to recover any financial losses suffered by government.
SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the investigation will focus on the 10 August 2018 procurement of, or contracting for the construction of an eight kilometer concrete barrier wall between uMkanyakude and the Mozambique Border and payments made in respect of the project.
The tender was awarded to a joint venture between ISF Construction and Shula Construction to the value of more than R85 million.
“The SIU received allegations from unnamed whistleblower claiming that the transport department has executed the project of constructing a concrete barrier despite the legal mandate of such project resting with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure,” Kganyago said.
The public works department is the custodian of border infrastructure outlay and the maintenance.
“The October 2020 report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure shows that only 0.166 km work was completed and an enormous amount of R48 million had already been paid to the contractor. This amount was supposed to have been spent on a three kilometer border wall placement,” he said.
The SIU investigation aims to determine whether the procurement and payments made in relation to the construction were done in a manner that was fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective; or contrary to applicable legislation and guidelines issued by national and provincial treasury departments.
“The SIU will also look at whether there was any related unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by the institutions or financial losses suffered by the institutions or the government,” he said.
He added that the SIU would investigate any “irregular, improper or unlawful conduct” by contractors, employees or officials of the institution, suppliers, service providers or any other person or entity related to the contract.
The investigation will cover transactions that took place between 13 July 2016 and 7 May 2021, and transactions that either took place before July 2016 or after 7 May 2021.
“Where criminal conduct is uncovered during investigations, the SIU will bring the matter to the attention of its partners National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), as well as the Hawks in the South African Police Service (SAPS) for further action,” he said.
Fraud and corruption allegations may be reported via the following platforms: firstname.lastname@example.org / Hotline: 0800 037 774