The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has exposed the questionable escalation of the Giyani water project cost from an initial R90 million to a staggering R4.1 billion.
SIU’s programme manager, Gina Pretorius, disclosed this information during a briefing with the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).
Pretorius informed Scopa that the tender for the project was awarded without adhering to proper supply chain management processes, leading the SIU to take legal action in the High Court in Limpopo to overturn the irregular and unlawful tender award.
“LTE was initially appointed on an emergency basis in August 2014 for the repair and refurbishment of the water and wastewater works to the value of R90 million. On September 25, Lepelle Northern Water appointed LTE for non-emergency works to the value of R2.2 billion. It must be noted that there was no procurement process followed when the project was extended from R90 million to R2.2 billion,” said Pretorius.
She added that this was done without authorisation from the former minister of water, Nomvula Mokonyane, and the Department of Water and Sanitation.
“The project cost was increased from the approved budget of R90 million to R2.2 billion,” said Pretorius, adding that the SIU found that the contract was irregular and unlawful.”
“In terms of the CIDB (Construction Industry Development Board) compliance, it was found that the appointment of LTE by Lepelle Northern Water in August and September were irregular and unlawful, in that LTE was not registered with the CIDB to undertake or carry out construction work for public sector contracts and Lepelle Northern Water was prohibited in terms of the CIDB Act to appoint a contractor to carry out construction work without a valid registration certificate issued by the CIDB,” said Pretorius.
“The investigation uncovered that Lepelle Northern Water paid an amount of approximately R4.1 billion to the service provider, which far exceeds the contract value of R2.2 billion,” she said.
Pretorius said to set aside the contract of R2.2 billion, which subsequently increased to R4.1 billion, they have gone to the High Court.
They were waiting for the Judge President of the Limpopo High Court on a date for a hearing of the case.