Department welcomes Beitbridge border fence judgement

Department welcomes Beitbridge border fence judgement

The Department of Public Works & Infrastructure (DPWI), has welcomed the judgement handed down with regards to the Beitbridge Border fence project.

The judgment was handed down by Judge Lebogang Modiba on Tuesday.

This as the department and Special Investigating Unit (SIU) had sought just and equitable relief in terms of section 172(1)(b) of the Constitution, including an order seeking to divest the contractors (Caledon River Properties (Pty) Ltd and Profteam CC) from any profits derived from the contracts relating to the 40km long fence.

The construction of the fence was done as part of the emergency COVID-19 procurement during 2020 but soon after it was erected; it fell apart – prompting an SIU investigation.

Judge Modiba has stated that “it is just and equitable to apply the no profit and no loss principle” and dismissed the right of the contractors to retain the profits arising from these contracts.

The judgement requires that the profits accruing to the contractors from the project be repaid to the DPWI. The department also noted the statement from Judge Modiba that further corrective measures lie in holding to account “the officials who designed, approved and implemented” the project.

With regards to these further corrective accountability measures, the DPWI’s Acting Director General, Imtiaz Fazel, confirmed that in February 2022 the State concluded its case in the majority of disciplinary hearings against the implicated DPWI employees.

The defendant employees are scheduled to finalise their response to the State’s case by the 8th April 2022.

In addition to these disciplinary processes, the acting Director General, has offered the Engineering Council of South Africa the DPWI’s full co-operation to investigate the conduct of professional engineers within and contracted or sub-contracted to the DPWI in this matter.

“I wish to assure our employees and the wider public that the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is committed to clean governance and enacting consequence management where necessary. I gratefully acknowledge the assistance and bravery of the State’s witnesses from the DPWI, SIU and National Treasury in last month’s disciplinary hearings.

“As the DPWI works to improve delivery, communication and consequence management, we are seeking to play our part in rebuilding the confidence and trust that South Africans have in their government,” said Fazel.