Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA) Archives
Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA) Archives

De Lille defends department's push for dissolution of Independent Development Trust

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Jun 19, 2020

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Cape Town - Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille has defended her departments' push for the dissolution of the Independent Development Trust (IDT).

De Lille said when they got to office last year, they had to put up the pieces of the history of IDT.
She also said the government's approach was that no more state entities will receive bailouts - particularly those that are performing dismally.

"There must be a good reason to justify the continued existence of IDT," De Lille said, adding that MPs were entitled to make a request for a bailout of IDT from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

She also said: "There is a Cabinet decision of no bailout of entities. We will certainly abide by that decision."

De Lille made the statement when she led a departmental delegation to brief the joint meeting of parliamentary committees this week.

She told MPs that she has received a report from the multidisciplinary task team looking into various aspects of the planned dissolution of the Independent Development Trust (IDT).

"We received the first draft of the task team on June 1. Myself and the director-general are studying the report. Once we finalise it, it can be brought to the portfolio committees," she said.

The task team is composed of senior managers of the department, acting CEO of IDT and a manager from the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee (PICC).

 It is hoped that the report would assist De Lille to table a cabinet memorandum seeking approval to continue with the planned dissolution of the IDT.

The meeting was told that there have been attempts to reconfigure the IDT, which was formed in 1990 with R2 billion endowment, but they have not yielded results.

Briefing the committee, the department's director Molatelo Mohaswa also told the MPs how governance matters had become a challenge, client departments not paying for infrastructure delivered and exposing IDT to litigation and increased liabilities to suppliers and service providers.

Its revenue declined and that it faced serious going concern risk because of its insolvency position.

Mohaswa also said engagements by De Lille and her deputy Noxolo Kiviet with the interim board had led to the board directors coming up with three options to salvage the entity and one of those was IDT dissolution.

De Lille added that the entity did not have a dashboard system other than Microsoft Excel which did not reconcile directly with the finance management system and was suspensible to human error and corruption.

She also said IDT has 2647 committed projects to the tune of R3.2bn for 2020-21.

There were R6.8bn worth projects committed in the medium-term expenditure framework.  Additional projects valued at R1.4bn were contractually committed but have not commenced bringing the amount to R8.2 billion.

The minister also revealed that 12251 projects dating back to 2006 were not confirmed and that a contractual close-out has been concluded.

She also indicated that 49 projects were under litigation to the tune of R326m and that the total project liability was in excess of R26 billion.

"We are to work together with what we have and see what we can salvage in the current financial year," De Lille said.

But MPs said the entity should be saved and they raised why client departments were not held accountable for the payment of infrastructure delivered.

They also wanted to know why the purchasing of the portfolio management system was not approved and raised concern with job security for IDT staff.

Political Bureau

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