SA committee wants answers on controversial SA-Zimbabwe’s R37 million fence

Members of the South Africa’s standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) have expressed dissatisfaction with answers from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure regarding the 40-kilometre fence erected earlier this year at the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Members say the department went out of its way to favour the company appointed to do the work.

The R37 million spent on the fence is the reason Scopa is all over this contract. Reports in the media and elsewhere showing the fence having been vandalised only days after it was erected had parliamentarians asking what motivated its expedition.

Minister of Public Works Patricia de Lille explained that the fence had been made necessary by the need to secure the borders as part of the state of national disaster.

She added that as soon as questions arose she called in the Auditor General (AG) as well as conducting an internal inquiry.

“The AG is now busy with the investigation and we are waiting for the outcome. I further wrote to anti-corruption to launch an investigation and work with AG, so we could get to the bottom of it.”

But members had a series of questions regarding the insistence on appointing Magwa Construction. Others wanted to know if the work done was worth R37 million.

Samantha Graham-Mare of the Democratic Alliance, Veronica Mente of the Economic Freedom Fighters and Bheki Hadebe of the African National Congress – all complain about the money paid and the sloppy job that was done.

The department says the 40-kilometre long project has now been handed over to the Department of Defence and Military Veterans.