Gauteng terminates R30m highway project

THE Gauteng department of roads and transport has terminated a R30million contract it had awarded to Utho Ngathi Development Corporation to beautify the Albertina Sisulu highway between OR Tambo International Airport and Johannesburg.

The lucrative deal saw the opposition DA questioning the apparent involvement of Premier Nomvula Mokonyane's office in the tender award.

Mokonyane denied in an official parliamentary reply that she had any involvement in awarding the tender.

This despite two letters, written by the department head Benedicta Monama suggesting the contrary.

In a surprise move yesterday the transport department issued a statement saying it had decided to sever business ties with the company.

Department spokesperson Philemon Motshwaedi cited the company's failure to "meet the requirements and conditions of the appointment letter" as reasons for the decision.

"The reason for the termination is due to the default in performance despite constant notification by the department to the attention of the service provider to rectify this situation," Motshwaedi said yesterday. "Phase 1 of the project was expected to be completed on 31 May 2010.

"The service provider was informed of this decision in a letter dated 21 April 2010, after a review meeting between the department and the service provider, represented by Vuyo Daweti."

He said the department had taken over the project.

Sowetan understands that the company is challenging the decision.

"I have referred the matter to lawyers and they have opened dialogue with the department," Daweti said.