Gauteng contracts probed

28 January 2011

28 January 2011 | Nick Martindale

The newly appointed member of the executive council for Gauteng’s roads and transport department, Ismail Vadi, has asked South Africa’s auditor general to investigate 13 contracts issued between September and December 2010.

Most of the contracts in question were awarded shortly after Vadi was appointed in November and total more than R1 billion (US$142 million).

“This is an internal investigation to assess whether there was due diligence by departmental officials and compliance with the regulatory framework,“ said Vadi.

“The auditor general may conclude there was no serious breach, in which case I won’t need to take any action. Otherwise I will table a document to the legislature to take the matter further.”

The contracts under scrutiny include a three-year, R900 million (US$127million) road construction deal; a R49 million (US$6.9 million) award for security services at premises belonging to the department; and a R35 million (US$4.9 million) agreement for the establishment of drivers’ licence testing stations.

Jack Bloom, a member of the Gauteng provincial legislature and corruption spokesman for the Democratic Alliance Gauteng, called for a more comprehensive investigation. “Vadi’s probe covers only the tip of a very large iceberg,” he said.

The investigation should be extended to include contracts awarded in the past five years by his department, said Bloom.

“There needs to be full accountability, including criminal charges if indicated, no matter who may be implicated,” he said. “Efforts should be made to recover as much misappropriated money as possible.”

A number of contracts awarded over the past five years by the Gauteng legislature are already the subject of a separate investigation by the auditor general.

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