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Johannesburg - Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi has vowed to blacklist all companies doing shoddy work after his department underspent more than R172 million of its annual budget.
Vadi made the pledge on Tuesday after his department was summoned to appear before the Gauteng standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) to explain the underspending which was pointed out by the Auditor-General Terence Nombembe on the final audits of provincial government departments.
Detailing the underspending, Nombembe said the department underspent R17m on its administration budget; R82 785 000 on infrastructure; R44 416 000 on operations and R28 553 000 on regulations.
Scopa chairman Sipho Makama said his committee members were concerned about the huge amount which could have been effectively used to cover all potholes on Gauteng roads.
Cope MPL Ndzipho Kalipa was concerned about the awarding of major road tenders to incompetent companies. He also lashed out at the department for allegedly failing to put measures in place to prevent the cancellation of contracts after several payments had already been made to those companies.
In reply to the concerns, Vadi said his decision to terminate the R40m and R30m road infrastructure tenders was “in the public interest.”
He said the termination of two companies’ contracts, without mentioning them by name, was as a result of non-performance, late implementation and late completion of projects.
According to Vadi, it was important for his department to terminate those tender awards and re-advertise them.
“These contractors are struggling to complete major projects despite repeated warnings to do so. Some of them are deliberately under quoting when seeking these tenders, knowing that the law stipulates that the contracts must be given to the lowest bidder.
“It is only after the awarding of the tenders that they would make applications for additional funding. They know how to manipulate the system to get these tenders but fail to perform. It was in the public interest that I terminated the contracts,” Vadi said.
Vadi also promised to rectify the more than R44m operational underspending, saying he hoped to appoint engineers and technical staff in his department to deal with the backlog in the filling of posts.