Beitbridge border fence corruption worse than feared - R17m overpriced

Beitbridge border fence corruption worse than feared - R17m overpriced

- The Beitbridge border fence has been a disaster with corruption and poor construction resulting in the project going massively over budget

- Initially, it was feared that the project was R14 million overpriced but a government-commissioned report revealed that it is actually R17 million overpriced

- A laundry list of issues have been revealed - the fence is not high enough, barbed wire being stretched too far and over 100 breaches to the fence, to name a few

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The Beitbridge border fence scandal has resulted in 14 senior officials from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructures (DPWI) facing disciplinary action.

The 40km-long border fence, which separated Zimbabwe and South Africa, has been breached in over 100 different spots, which have allowed illegal migrants from Zimbabwe and other countries to freely enter South Africa.

The breaches pose a serious threat to South Africa's efforts to close its borders during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Briefly.co.za learned that a government-commissioned report revealed that there were serious concerns raised over the border fence project, which included corruption, unprofessional behaviour and short cuts being taken in the construction.

The 1.8m tall fence was supposed to be 2.2m tall to stop people from easily scaling it, which is now the case according to The South African.

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There are a total of 115 confirmed breaches to the 40km-long fence. The barbed wire had been stretched beyond its effective length, reducing its effectiveness.

Beitbridge Border fence corruption far than feared - R17m overpriced

Beitbridge border fence has been compromised in over 100 spots along its 40km length. Photo credit: Facebook/@AwakeMzansi
Source: Facebook

The failures in the tender process resulted in the fence being ‘unfit for purpose’, and the cost of the project has been written off as ‘irregular expenditure’.

The report recommends that senior officials, contractors and construction agents face criminal charges for their part in the scandal.

The forensic report revealed the initial estimate of the project being overpriced by R14 million was short of R3 million, making the project R17 million overpriced.

In addition to that, the costs used to calculate the project are believed to be inflated. The case has been handed over to the Police as the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) concludes its report.

“Using the 2016 Contract rates – at which this project was contracted, the assessment found that the overall total project cost should have amounted to R26.1million – it was, therefore, initially overpriced by R14.3 million. The rates calculated four years ago are also thought to be inflated.”
“But a further assessment using market-related prices for materials actually used on-site and revised fees for engineering services provides for a total project cost of R23 388 023.97. That means that the project, and DPWI’s failure to review the application properly, actually exceeded its total costs by over R17 million – almost R3 million more than first feared.” - DPWI report on Beitbridge.

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Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that the Limpopo Department of Health has ended up creating quite a mess with its tenders to supply equipment such as hand sanitisers and PPE's (personal protective equipment).

A R185 million contract was awarded to a KwaZulu-Natal to provide PPE but the company is not registered on the official database of suppliers.

Briefly.co.za learned that the company, Pro Secure, is one of 216 hand-selected companies which have been awarded R932 million in tenders. Many of the tenders have been awarded to individuals who are politically connected, ANC activists and relatives of ANC members, according to IOL.

In other news, President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the nation to unite under the banner of fighting corruption.

Speaking during the funeral of John Nkadimeng and others who fought for the future of SA, Ramaphosa said this fight couldn't have been in vain.

The president condemned those who used state power to enrich themselves, saying that faith in the government needs to be restored:

"We must work together to rid our society of the scourge of cronyism and corruption. It is of the gravest concern that we are confronted with the misdeeds of those abusing the access to political and state power to enrich themselves.
"Day by day, we learn more about the actions of thieving looting and corruption. Day by day, the trust of our people is eroded."

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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