Beitbridge border fence companies lose High Court appeal

South Africa – Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed the order of the High Court in Gauteng which has dismissed an application by two Beitbridge border fence construction companies to appeal a decision of the Special Tribunal to strip them of profits earned from the construction of the fence .

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two companies Caledon River Properties and Profteam CC, received contracts totalling R40 .

4 million from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) to construct the razor mesh fence between South Africa and Zimbabwe .

However, soon after the fence was erected in March 2020, it began to fall apart – leading to a public outcry .

In July 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the SIU through Proclamation No .

R .

23 of 2020, to investigate the affairs of all State institutions in respect of the procurement or contracting for goods, works and services, during, or in respect of the National State of Disaster, by or on behalf of State institutions .

In March last year, following an application by the SIU, the Special Tribunal ordered that the contracts be set aside and that the companies pay back profits earned from the contracts .

Now, the High Court has ordered that:
The application is dismissed with costs .

The service providers must, within 30 days, file audited statements and debatement of accounts reflecting their respective income and expenditure in the contracts .

The SIU and DPWI are ordered to appoint, within 30 days thereafter, qualified expert(s) to compile a report as to the reasonableness of the service providers’ expenses and file papers .

The service providers are ordered to pay the public works department, within 30 days, profit earned from the contracts as agreed by the experts and made the order of the Tribunal .

“The SIU welcomes the order of the High Court, as it enforces the implementation of the Unit’s investigation outcomes and consequence management” .

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