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SIU to probe R1.3bn tenders to spruce up Ramaphosa, MPs’ offices and residences

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File image.

Published Aug 5, 2022

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Johannesburg - The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has been given the green light to probe over R1.3 billion facilities management and refurbishment contracts for the offices of President Cyril Ramaphosa and MPs including their official residences.

The SIU has been authorised, through a proclamation, to investigate the R561 million five-year contract awarded to Arcus Facility Management Services (AFMS) to provide integrated facilities management services for the MPs’ offices in the National Council of Provinces Building, Goede Hoop Building, the Presidency, Marks Building, Ramaphosa’s Cape Town office Tuynhuys, Tuynhuys Gardens and Queen’s Garden in Parliament.

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An investigation by accounting and consulting company BDO Advisory commissioned by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to review the performance of Parliament’s Prestige construction projects found that AFMS, consultants and the department had inadequate quality management in its work.

The investigation found that the Tuynhuys Gardens were not in a condition one would expect for the Presidency.

The garden irrigation system did not work at the time of the probe in 2020 but this was blamed on the drought that hit the Western Cape at the time and caused extensive damage.

In its October 2020 report, BDO Advisory found that AFMS is not managing the gardens in terms of their contractual requirements.

The firm also established that at Queen’s Garden the manner in which gardens were maintained was indicative that the people responsible for garden maintenance were not gardening specialists.

According to BDO Advisory, there was a lack of regular site visits by the department’s project manager.

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As a result, the department incurred fruitless and wasteful expenditure in terms of the Public Finance Management Act.

”The department paid for the maintenance of the irrigation system and it is not working. Gardens are not representative of the status of Parliament,” reads the report.

BDO Advisory recommended that appropriate action through penalties should be taken against AFMS and consultant Multi QS.

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It also ordered that appropriate action should be taken against the responsible department officials.

Also on the SIU’s sights is the R541m contract awarded to the Broll Property Group to provide integrated facilities management services at the three parliamentary villages – Acacia Park, Groote Schuur and Rygersdal.

The unit is also investigating the refurbishment of residences of sessional officials in the three parliamentary villages for over R140m by Vusela Construction, which has since been liquidated and later replaced by Nolitha Electrical.

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Another contract under scrutiny is the external renovations to the Marks Building by Prema Raciti Construction, which cost R42m.

Another deal worth R26m also awarded to Prema Raciti Construction for the total refurbishment of the sixth floor of 90 Plein Street, another parliamentary building, will be scrutinised.

The SIU will investigate whether the procurement of goods, works and services by or on behalf of the department was done in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost effective.

It will also probe any non-performance, poor, defective or late performance by contractors, suppliers or service providers of goods, works or services delivered, performed or rendered in the projects as well as any losses or damages suffered by the department.

Investigations will include any irregular, improper or unlawful conduct by employees of the department, any person or entity.

It is expected that the investigation will shed light on the serious maladministration, unlawful appropriation, expenditure, intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property and offence in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

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