Millions spent on Free State roads

Image for illustration purposes.

Millions of rands have been allocated to contractors’ trainees for fixing Free State roads.

OFM News reports, the information that over R700 million has been allocated by the Free State Department of Police, Roads and Transport to repairing potholes and cutting grass – since 2019 – was revealed by the minister of Transport in response to DA member of the National Council of Provinces, George Michalakis.

The Minister’s response to the written parliamentary question pertaining to the Contractor Development Programme (CDP) in the province also showed that the CDP companies are all at a different level of training and in some cases work on-site had to be stopped for technicians from the roads district authorities to assist.

The budget of the CDP companies doubled year-on-year.

The response further revealed that the budget grew from just over R100 million in 2019 to just over R400 million in 2021.

Michalakis expresses how the R736 150 000.00 that was allocated to the project does not reflect it on the roads as the conditions of provincial roads have deteriorated significantly from 2019. The media statement details how in 2019, R37 066 071.55, which is 34% of the budgeted amount of R107 850 000.00 for that year was paid out, indicating that contractors did not do two thirds of the work they were contracted to do.

The department, which is currently under scrutiny for allegations of paying R180 million to contractors for work allegedly not done, revealed that in 2020, 78% – which amounts R171 782 050.00 of the budgeted R222 100 000.00 – was paid out to contractors.

The department did not disclose how much of the R406 200 000.00 budgeted for the 2021/22 financial year has been paid out.

“Some of these technicians have to come on site and instruct those who have been awarded the contract to fix the roads on how to do the work,” Michalakis said in a media statement.

Of the 71 companies the department appointed, a total of seven are currently in the process of being deregistered and some have already been deregistered due to annual report of non-compliance as required by law.

In some cases, the department also failed to provide the accurate names of the directors of the companies.

The statement concludes that the DA in the province will take the matter up in the legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts and Finance (PROPAC).

They will in addition approach the the Public Protector with a request to investigate the department’s role in awarding these contracts and the payments made, and also the companies involved, specifically where advances where paid, but work was not done.

OFM News/Corn Koteli