Beitbridge Border: SIU confirms COVID-19 contracts were irregular

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has weighed in on the probe into controversial Department of Public Works projects at the Beitbridge Border.

Beitbridge Border contractors stripped of profits

In a statement released on Tuesday, the unit confirmed that two companies had been stripped of profits earned from the contracts which had been valued at over R40 million.

The contracts had been awarded as part of the national government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the tenders quickly gained notoriety when it emerged how poorly constructed the fences were.

“The SIU welcomes the Special Tribunal order stripping Caledon River Properties and ProfteamCC of profits earned from the R40.4 million contracts awarded by the Department of Public Works to erect the Beit Bridge border fence, as part of the Covid-19 emergency procurement in 2020.”

SIU statement

Beitbridge border
The contract to erect fencing at the Beitbridge Border was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Image: Supplied

Millions dished out in advance

Furthermore, the SIU revealed that the contractors had been paid over half of the contract amount in advance to construct the fence at the Beitbridge Border.

“The two contractors were jointly paid R21.8 million of the R40.4 million in advance by Public Works for the construction of the razor mesh fence.”

SIU statement

The SIU confirmed that its probe into the project uncovered numerous irregularities, including the early payment.

“Following an intensive investigation by the SIU, which uncovered a number of irregularities including the pre-payment, Public Works was interdicted and restrained by the Special Tribunal from making further payment pending the conclusion of civil claim instituted by the SIU.”

SIU statement

As far as the contract is concerned, the unit confirmed that it had been set aside by mutual agreement, with payment expected within 60 days. In addition to this, the SIU has also commented that officials will be facing disciplinary action.

“In accordance with SIU Act 74 of 1996, the SIU made disciplinary referrals to the public works department against officials who designed, approved and implemented the Beit Bridge border fence project.”

SIU statement

↯↯↯Read More On The Topic On TDPel Media ↯↯↯