The Auditor-General has raised alarm about a number of infrastructure projects that have been left incomplete due to shoddy work yet government has paid millions for those projects.
Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke said this year they visited 132 infrastructure projects, ranging from schools to health facilities and housing and water projects, and in most of them they were lying idle or incomplete for various reasons.
She said in 82% of the projects they found that the projects were either delayed or there were cost overruns.
The incomplete projects have a direct impact on communities as they cannot get their houses, or children use schools or people have access to healthcare facilities.
Maluleke, who was briefing the standing committee on the auditor-general, said there were on average delays of 45 months on some of the projects, and yet government has paid the money.
She said her team conducted site visits to the infrastructure projects across the country.
“In 112 instances or in 82% of the projects we found there were problems and these problems were either projects were delayed or there were cost overruns or construction not even completed,” said Maluleke.
“These delays not only increase cost and result in financial losses at the time we can least afford it, they result in compromised lived experience of people.”
This leads to overcrowding in schools in respect of schools that are incomplete and also ablution facilities that are not working.
In respect of incomplete housing projects communities do not have access to clean and safe water.
“You have got insufficient road and rail infrastructure for public and freight transport. We have seen in the human settlements sector there are average delays of 45 months on projects,” said Maluleke.
“You have got government buildings that go unattended in terms of maintenance where monies are appropriated, budgets are spent yet those projects are delayed on average 46 months. We are also looking at health and education and the water sector.”
She said they conducted the site visits to the infrastructure projects in order to understand the root causes of the problems or delays in their completion yet monies have been paid to contractors.
What they found was that there was lack of proper needs assessments and feasibility studies on those projects.
There was lack of coordination amongst all the players.
More importantly, there was lack of accountability in terms of holding contractors accountable for shoddy work.