The Beitbridge border will not be repaired or maintained as it would amount to irregular expenditure, says Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille.
Speaking at a Q&A session in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Wednesday, 17 March, De Lille told MPs the border fence was not fit for purpose in its present form.
“The team discovered that the fence in its current form is not fit for purpose. It is non-compliant with the specification.
“The department has decided not to undertake any repairs or maintenance to the existing fence. It will lead to irregular expenditure,” she said.
Last year an investigation into the border fence project found the government had paid R17 million more than the market-related cost. A total of R40.4 million was budgeted for the border fence, which amounted to more than R1 million per kilometre of fence.
De Lille told MPs said future border fence projects would include other government departments.
“Any further border fence projects will be located in the context of the integrated border management solution that is currently under way.
“In this regard, the site clearance is aimed to be completed by June 2021. From this point, the department will embrace and utilise a best practice approach in consultation with the Department of Defence,” she said.
The border fence was erected following a request from the Department of Defence to repair and replace a 40km section of the fence during the shutdown of the country’s borders and ports.
The 40km fence has been the subject of criticism after photos showed it had been vandalised and poles stolen.
In August, investigators found at least 115 breaches that made it easy for immigrants to unlawfully enter South Africa from Zimbabwe.
Caledon River Properties CC, trading as Magwa Construction and Profteam CC, was responsible for the work.
Additional reporting by News24 Wire