Delayed housing gets new deadline
THE Limpopo provincial department of co-operative governance, human settlement and traditional affairs have announced that a multi-million rand housing project running behind schedule will be completed in November.
MEC Clifford Motsepe said the construction of 189 community residential units at Seshego hostel, outside Polokwane, which should have been completed on April 6, will be completed "on or before November".
Last Monday, Sowetan reported that the department continues to pay a politically-connected businessman, Steve Bosch, millions despite the contractor's failure to meet deadlines.
Official documents show that the department increased Bosch's budget to R53-million from R41-million through a variation order.
Motsepe said the increment was approved by provincial treasury "after a few exchanges of correspondence and meetings".
Bosch's company, Raesetja Property Developers trading as Sizani Build It, was awarded a contract in 2010 to build 189 residential units.
Documents show that Bosch has already been paid R43-million or 81% of the total value of the contract.
Last week, Bosch's workers picketed at Sizani Build It, demanding their salaries. The workers claimed they have not been paid since May.
Motsepe said: "The department is happy with the quality and performance of the contractor and expects the project to be completed on or before the end of November. We remain committed to meet the target."
But the Democratic Alliance in the province is having none of it. The party's member of the provincial legislature, Desiree van der Walt, has urged the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) to launch a probe into the matter.
Van der Walt said: "Scopa in Limpopo must investigate all the provincial government's tenders awarded to Bosch. His political connections coupled with his questionable service delivery record are a clear indication that the ruling party will stop at nothing in its ploy to enrich its cronies at the expense of the communities. This is a flagrant abuse of the state's coffers and it must be investigated."
Van der Walt announced this week the DA will write to Scopa to ask it to summon Motsepe to an urgent meeting to "explain why Bosch is getting preferential treatment when it is on record that he failed to meet his contractual obligations".
The Hawks, the South African Revenue Service, the special investigating unit and Public Protector Thuli Madonsela are probing alleged tender irregularities, including fraud and corruption in Limpopo.