SIU opens investigation into costly Mozambique wall barrier

A man brazenly tries to cross into SA through the border fence with Mozambique while SA security officials patrol next to the unfinished concrete barrier wall. File image.
A man brazenly tries to cross into SA through the border fence with Mozambique while SA security officials patrol next to the unfinished concrete barrier wall. File image.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed a proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe the KwaZulu-Natal department of transport on allegations of corruption and maladministration involving a R85m Mozambique concrete barrier project.

The investigation will focus on the construction of an 8km concrete barrier wall between uMkhanyakude and the Mozambique border, which was meant to protect communities plagued by cross-border hijacking syndicates.

An October report of the portfolio committee on public works and infrastructure shows only 0.166km of work was completed and “an enormous amount of R48m had already been paid to the contractor”.

The SIU’s Kaizer Kganyago said the construction had allegedly started despite the legal mandate for the project resting with the public works and infrastructure department. 

“The SIU investigation is aimed at determining whether the procurement and payments made in relation to the construction of the barrier were done in a manner that was fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective, or contrary to applicable legislation and guidelines issued by the National Treasury or relevant provincial treasury, he said.

The proclamation authorises the unit to subpoena bank statements and cellphone records, search and seize evidence, question witnesses and recover any unauthorised financial losses suffered by government.

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