JOHANNESBURG - An investigation into the extension of the R40-million Beitbridge border fence has revealed the project’s riddled with corruption.
Besides overpaying by R17-million, an audit has revealed the inferior quality of the fence makes it virtually useless.
It was hastily commissioned in March to protect the country’s border during the COVID-19 pandemic but it’s now become one of two major scandals to dog the public works department, whose director-general was recently placed on suspension, pending disciplinary action.
A total of 14 officials are now facing misconduct charges.
MPs say Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille can’t absolve herself of wrongdoing, and the buck stops with her but she’s challenged her detractors to prove she has benefited.
“We are not trying to hide anything," De Lille said.
"If there’s any allegations of corruption against the minister like has been made in public, I am prepared to open my banking accounts.”
The department has enlisted auditors PriceWaterhouseCoopers to probe more than R75-million it spent on three official funerals in 2018, all paid to one company.
It’s now also having to answer to Parliament for the R35-million it spent with the same company for the funeral of struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni last month.
The investigation into these funeral expenses has now cost the department almost a million rand.