Why do the same companies always get multi-million rand contracts in North West?
Johannesburg - North West’s Department of Human Settlements is in the spotlight following allegations of collusion with a cabal of companies that are always scoring lucrative construction contracts.
Departmental sources have told the Sunday Independent that an investigation has been instituted to find out why the same companies are always receiving multi-million rand contracts.
“An internal investigation was instituted after some contractors complained that they were sidelined and awarded small projects but certain companies were getting lucrative deals annually,” said a source speaking on condition of anonymity.
“There is an internal investigation being conducted but how far it is and who has been fingered remains a mystery. It appears those implicated are protected from the top.”
Attempts for comment from the department were unsuccessful.
The sources said the matter was also being looked into by the provincial legislature portfolio committee on the premier, finance, co-operative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs. Chairperson Aaron Motswana confirmed they were looking at “a cartel” in housing construction in the province.
“There is a cartel that is operating mainly in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Bojanala District. You don’t have people who are from Ngaka Modiri Molema and Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality.
“The contractors from those areas are always subcontracted. The majority of companies that get deals are from Klerksdorp and those companies don’t even have the capacity,” he said.
Motswana said it was strange that the majority of companies were failing to deliver and complete projects but were rewarded with contracts that range from R30 million and above.
“These people get these contracts and it’s because they are being used for political adventurism and they fund those activities,” he said.
The department’s housing division has been besieged by scandals in recent weeks. It is being dragged to court for a R30 million contract that was entered into without following proper procedures. The property developer is demanding payment for a variation/ top-up on a housing contract.
The agreement was allegedly approved without being accompanied by a report from experts.
Sources said another problem was that it was recommended the company be given the top-up, which was allegedly signed off by the head of housing, Vusi Bidi while the head of department was not around that week.
Bidi is under scrutiny after the auditor-general and the Department of Public Service and Administration flagged his appointment to the position and recommended he should not be a chief director because he only has a national diploma while the position requires a degree or NQ Level 7 qualification.