Probe De Lille’s role in Beitbridge border fence saga, Scopa asks Treasury

Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille. Picture: Jacques Nelles.

Scopa said the report it received from Treasury on Tuesday ‘indicated problems with the conditions set by the minister in the directive’.

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) wants Treasury to investigate the role played by Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille, when she issued the directive on the erection of the Beitbridge border fence.

Scopa said the report it received from Treasury on Tuesday “indicated problems with the conditions set by the minister in the directive”.

“It contains conditions requiring the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure’s chief financial officer (CFO) to be advised on the costs in order to secure the provisions for the emergency variation order. It also required the CFO to put emergency mechanisms in place for weekly payment of the contractor for work undertaken,” Scopa said in a statement.

ALSO READ: De Lille seemingly ‘had contractor in mind’ for Beitbridge border project – Treasury

Treasury raised concerns with the advising on costs, as costs are determined based on defining the needs after a site visit and then the bills of quantities, Scopa said.

“Another concern is that the inclusion of the variation order means that there is a contractual agreement with the current supplier. In addition, Treasury is concerned about the request for weekly payments, as payment should be made on services rendered and against the bills of quantities.”

Beitbridge border fence graphic, by Costa Makola.

Scopa wants Treasury “to perform an in-depth investigation on the minister’s involvement with the state Accountant-General, and has requested the National Treasury to submit the report within the next 14 days”.

The committee welcomed the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) presentation on this matter.

It said it had asked the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to submit the full report by Friday, 28 August. This would allow members of the committee time to familiarise themselves with the contents before they undertake an oversight visit to the Beitbridge fence.

“The committee is concerned with the Auditor-General’s slow pace of work on the matter and will deliberate on how to proceed,” it said.

It added “it is expecting the department to apply consequence management to all those implicated in this project. Scopa wants to see disciplinary action that inspires confidence that disciplinary processes were properly followed”.

(Compiled by Carina Koen)

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