JOHANNESBURG - The Public Works Department, which was fleeced of more than R200 million in the Nkandla saga, has been dragging its feet.
It says it has just started looking at blacklisting companies involved in the upgrades, after eNCA began asking questions.
eNCA has uncovered that not one of the companies, has been barred from doing business with government – as ordered by National Treasury.
In a recent investigation, eNCA came across the company that was directly responsible for determining the costs of the entire Nkandla project.
We asked them if they had played an active role in inflating prices on the project.
Their response was the complete opposite of what the nation has been told.
“Our view is that there was never any inflation of costs in that project. In reality, when the client changes the scope of works, the associated costs change as well. That is scope change,” said Dumisani Gqwaru, CEO of R&G Consultants.
Yet President Jacob Zuma gave this assurance after the Constitutional Court’s damning judgment against him, for failing to protect taxpayers’ money:
"The office of the Chief Procurement Officer has been established at the National Treasury for this purpose, of ensuring that strict supply-chain-procedures are followed by government departments. Government also took a conscious decision to clean-up the Department of Public Works to ensure that the flouting of supply-chain-procedures is eradicated and prevented.”
However, nothing has come of this. Public Works has not blacklisted a single company involved in the Nkandla debacle.
The Public Works Director-General admits he only started the process of attempting to blacklist service providers like R&G, after eNCA began asking questions.
“I think after your enquirers, I began a process of enquiring as to the appropriateness and took legal counsel on the matter,” said Mziwonke Dlabantu.
“I've written to all of them and listed their directors, and indicated the issues that have been raised in the SIU report and the amounts involved, and asked them to indicate to me within 14 days of receipt of those because they are registered letters, why I should not restrict them for 10 years in terms of Treasury regulation processes."
Meanwhile R&G Consultants continues to enjoy government contracts.
Its directors are accused of unethical behaviour in the Gauteng multi-billion rand Nellmapius housing project.
The Gauteng Human Settlements Department says it cannot remove the company, for fear of a legal backlash.
That’s because the Public Works Department, whose money was abused on the Nkandla scandal, hasn’t taken any action against R&G and its directors.
"If the Department of Public Works had contracted somebody to do work and that person has done something wrong, the onus and the responsibility lies with them to blacklist that person, so that nobody in the public service can utilise that person,” said Gauteng Human Settlements Spokesperson, Keith Khoza.
Public Works Director-General, Mziwonke Dlabantu said the situation was 'regrettable.'
“I think hindsight is exact science," he said.
"But they will not continue after I have made the decision with regard to their position after they've made their representation, if they do."
"It is possible that for example they may even take me to court, which might delay the process of restricting them," he added.
The ANC has ignored eNCA's requests for comment on the matter.