Beitbrigde border “Fence Fiasco “

News South Africa

Tebogo Msimanga

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] calls on government to learn from the Beitbridge border “fence fiasco” that the tender system does nothing but to allow tenderprenuers to loot state resources .The fence was constructed to stop the illegal movement of people between South Africa and Zimbabwe as part of interventions to fight COVID-19 by the South African government.

Public Works minister Patricia De Lille in March announced that erecting the fence was in line with interventions outlined by President Ramaphosa when he declared coronavirus state of disaster. The project was completed in April and it cost 37 million.

“The entire project was mired with tender irregularities and costs inflations. Special Investigative Unit [SIU] investigation revealed that costs for the project were inflated by R14 million.” read a statement issued by NEHAWU Secretary Zola Saphetha.

He said contractors were paid before any building materials were delivered and before construction took place. A professional assessment of quantities, drawings and specifications showed they were not aligned.

“This led to poor design and construction which compromised the effectiveness of the fence as a deterrent for crossing the South African border with Zimbabwe. The fence was only 1.8meters high instead of the specified 2.2meters, and barbed wire coils were stretched beyond their effective limit.”

NEHAWU said it will intensify its call for those involved or facilitated the loot of state resources during the COVID-19 pandemic to face harsh punishment and to be named and shamed.

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