Dud contractors cost Durban millions

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iol news pic Kimi Makwetu INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Kimi Makwetu is South Africa's Auditor-General. Picture: Masixole Feni

Durban - Durban’s ratepayers have forked out millions on tenders to dud contractors who don’t finish the job but then manage to land more work for the municipality despite their bad record.

Now the city’s auditors have called for them to be blacklisted, saying action must be taken in accordance with municipal policy.

This was especially so for contractors who failed to complete jobs on more than one occasion.

This emerged in an internal audit report on why 18 contracts awarded by the city had to be cancelled.

Senior audit manager Raveen Sarju said in his report to the municipal public accounts committee, that the value of the terminated contract was R57.7 million.

This excluded two contracts for stock for which information was still outstanding.

The payments already made to these incompetent contractors was R21.5m and the total value of incomplete work was R37m.

The reasons for the termination were that six of the contractors had abandoned site or were under liquidation; five produced sub-standard work; three didn’t even start the work; two submitted incorrect prices; and two were government employees forbidden from doing business with the state.

The investigation was limited to the sample of 18 contracts identified in a recent auditor-general’s report.

Sarju said the 18 contracts had all been terminated and 14 had since been re-awarded to other service providers. Three were either not re-awarded or were still in the tender process, and one was about to start.

“The total approximate value for the re-awarded contracts amounted to R41.6m,” he said.

Among the recommendations auditors had made to the city was that management should implement control measures to ensure effective project monitoring. Non-awarded contracts also needed to be speeded up to ensure that projects could be completed.

Yesterday

councillor Prem Iyir of the IFP said companies had to be better screened.

To get the money back, the city needs to be more firm and, if needs be, take the legal route. The municipality should also blacklist these companies who don’t complete the work,” he said.

DA councillor Andre Mitchell said the amount involved was concerning.

The municipality needs to check each company’s banking details before awarding the contracts because we are losing millions to these contractors. The quality of their work should also be checked before they are awarded a second contract,” he said.

NFP councillor Shaik Emam wanted to know how some companies were given second chances despite not finishing the job the first time.

This is ratepayers’ money and it’s a big waste to give people who don’t finish jobs more work. We need to know why,” he said.

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The Mercury


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