The minister said she was prompted by thousands of questions from the public and the media to request the auditor-general to investigate the project. She did this in the public interest and to publicly account for what may have gone wrong, she said.
“I also raised the same issue of the costs in our daily meetings with senior management and one of the explanation the DDG [deputy director-general] provided was the terrain under which the contractor had to work.”
Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said it was obvious that something fundamentally wrong happened in the project.
“Something is amiss. The pieces of the puzzle don't seem to be fitting. What we see there doesn't give us the comfort that you should have paid R37m. It's just chalk and cheese,” he said.
Hlengwa suspected that the department may have abused deviation processes in the project, saying it would be important for Scopa to set a benchmark for oversight using this as standard because of the value involved and the seriousness of the matter, it being a security feature.
“We still need to make a determination that it has fulfilled the particular purpose,” he said.
“That border post, as far as this fence is concerned, is a disgrace to say the least and it is anchored in corruption, in wrongdoing, in favouritism and it is anchored in abuse of disaster. It cannot be right.”