Cape Town - The ANC in the Western Cape has questioned Education Department officials about school construction projects that have been left in limbo because construction firm Filcon Projects has run into difficulty.
Departmental officials had been briefing the provincial standing committee on education on Tuesday about infrastructure and maintenance plans for 2014-15 when the ANC shifted the spotlight to Filcon.
Cameron Dugmore, the ANC’s alternative member to the committee, asked for a full record and detailed information on the Filcon matter. His party wanted the date when the decision was made by Public Works to appoint Filcon, so as to establish if they were aware of the company’s problems.
The company’s chairman is South African Saul Loggenberg, who was barred in the UK from being a company director until 2024 by the British Insolvency Service.
Officials stressed that due process was followed during awarding of the contract, and even a search on the construction registers service, CIDB, had found nothing.
Director of infrastructure planning and management Lesline McGlenatendolf explained that the supply chain process was with the Department of Transport and Public Works but that the Education Department oversaw it.
“That process was followed to the T. Filcon was found to be suitable… at the time,” she said.
It even had a good bank rating.
McGlenatendolf added that the trouble regarding Filcon developed only after it had been appointed.
Speaking after the meeting, Dugmore questioned the claim by officials who indicated that none of the high court liquidation applications against Filcon had been lodged at the time they made the decision to award the contract to Filcon.
“Our information is that some of the applications were already before the courts,” he said.
Dugmore said he was baffled by the fact that the department did not pick up that Loggenberg had been barred from serving as a director by the British Insolvency Services.
“A simple google search reveals Loggenberg’s dodgy background.”
Dugmore also asked the department to look into the fact that more than 200 subcontractors employed by Filcon had not been paid since March this year. “What will happen to the community liaison officers in all these schools and the contractors who haven’t been paid?”