DA calls for de Lille to resign after ruling on Beitbridge border fence tender

DA calls for de Lille to resign after ruling on Beitbridge border fence tender

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has welcomed news that the Special Tribunal has ordered the repayment of R21.8 million from the two contractors that benefited from the erection of the ‘washing line’ at the Beitbridge border fence.

The DA said this is a move in the right direction, and are calling for the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille to resign.

This comes after a Special Investigation Unit (SIU) report found her interference in the appointment of the contractors inappropriate.

“Now that the contractors have been made to pay back the money, it raises fresh questions about her conduct as a Minister. She must acknowledge her indiscretion and resign,” said DA MP and spokesperson on Public Works and Infrastructure, Samantha Graham-Maré, in a statement.

Caledon River Properties and Profteam CC are the two contractors who jointly earned R21.8 million of the R40.4 million contract from a tender awarded to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) as part of the Covid-19 emergency procurement in 2020.

Graham-Maré said that the Minister could not sit back and hope the embarrassing debacle goes away.

“The fact that not one person has been held accountable or faced sanctions is unacceptable. It cannot be that of the eleven people identified as having a part in this R40 million debacle, not a single disciplinary hearing has been finalised,” said Graham-Maré.

Soon after the razor fence was erected, it started to fall apart, which prompted the SIU to conduct investigations, where they found irregularities including the pre-payment.

This led them to indict the DPWI, prohibiting further payments being made.

The DA is accusing DPWI officials of earning massive salaries while sitting at home, while others have been avoiding disciplinary action by using sick notes and legal challenges.

“This is why DA federal leader John Steenhuisen called for the entire cabinet to be fired. It is clear that these ministers are unable or unwilling to do their jobs.

“If President Cyril Ramaphosa will not do it, we will take that burden off his hands and do it for him through our motion of no confidence in his cabinet,” said Graham-Maré.

The party said it was “heartening” to see the SIU ensuring all those who profit through unlawful tenders and appointment processes are bought to book.

They also expressed their trust in the department to finalise the disciplinary process that dragged for almost two years.

Compiled by Kgomotso Phooko. Additional reporting by Narissa Subramoney.

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