Timely R77m tenders issue

THE roads and transport department has hastily released more than R77million for tender it would have underspent on public transport.

Failure to spend the money would have led the department to be hauled before the portfolio committee on roads and transport to account.

When head of department Ntau Letebele arrived in September, he found that most tenders had not been advertised and no reasons were provided for the failure to do so.

As a way of averting the problem of under-expenditure, Letebele was forced to redeploy some of the senior officials and appoint "capable" officials in their place.

One of the officials was suspended for misconduct. Acting general manager for roads infrastructure, Saracen Mojapelo, is being investigated on allegations that he had failed to issue tenders despite the deadline for Friday last week to do so.

Among the findings by Letebele were that only 2percent of R219million was spent on the Extended Public Works Programme for this financial year.

He said the projects that may not be completed in the financial year 2009-10 would need an additional amount of R40million to meet the bus subsidy obligations.

The projected under-expenditure on transfer payments within the programme could be considered to close the subsidy gap, he said.

He said it became clear that he had to review the performance of all officials to strengthen certain areas which needed to be beefed up.

"We are accelerating our delivery machinery and already work to the tune of more than R200million.

This includes critical road maintenance that has been placed on tender."