The North West Department of Public Works and Roads was advised to terminate a R47 million awarded to a contractor who had missed schedules before it ballooned to R79 million.
This was after the contractor, Khosi Vuyo Logistics, submitted a “faulty” construction programme to the consulting engineers in February this year relating to the refurbishment of the Nelson Mandela Drive in Mahikeng.
According to a letter seen by African Times, The Bigen Group, a consulting engineering company which managed the Nelson Mandela Drive project on behalf of the department, suggested the “possible contract termination” of Khosi Vuyo Logistics after the contractor submitted unacceptable documents.
Sources said the questionable programmes included work schedules and traffic management plans.
Khosi Vuyo Logistics was awarded a R47 million tender to upgrade a four-kilometre section of the Nelson Mandela Drive, between Danville and Dada Motors, in October last year.
The Pretoria-based company is owned by businessman Robson Ngqola.
According to an appointment letter signed by the head of the department (HOD), Moss Kgantsi, the contractor was expected to complete the job within nine months of signing a contract with the North West Department of Public Works and Roads.
In terms of the appointment letter, Khosi Vuyo Logistics agreed to the examination of the company’s financial status, and the inspection of its building materials, suppliers and labour.
The contractor was required to submit the initial program prior to starting the job.
Dated February 9, 2023 and titled “Consultation with [the] employer regarding contract termination”, the Bigen letter informed Alfred Mafune, the department’s acting chief director for transport infrastructure, that Khosi Vuyo Logistics had submitted faulty project programmes.
“The contract was issued with a notice to remedy his default on 09 February, 23 by not submitting acceptable documentation in terms of the contract. The contractor is required in terms of CI.5.6.1 to submit the initial programme prior to commencing with the works in terms of the way he will carry out the works.”
“A programme was submitted on 09 Jan 23, however, the programme was not aligned with the works and the employer’s agent [Bigen] had therefore requested that the contractor revise and resubmit in line with CI 5.6.1,” wrote The Bigen Group.
The consulting engineers further stated that Khosi Vuyo Logistics submitted a revised programme on January 23, which was rejected four days later. Subsequent meetings were held between Ngqola and the consulting engineers on February 1 , The Biden Group letter said, where Khosi Vuyo Logistics were requested to submit revised programmes.
“The employer’s agent queried the status of the contractor’s document submission via email correspondence on 07 Feb 23 and again on 09 Feb 23. The contractor resubmitted an amended programme on 13 Feb 23 which was rejected on 17 Feb 23. To date no revised programme submission had been received,” added Bigen.
Ngqola has battled to complete the Nelson Mandela Drive project, falling behind his own schedule and failing to manage the chaotic traffic flow in the area. This led to calls from frustrated local residents and business owners for the contract to be terminated, and for another contractor to take over the project, whose budget has since increased by more than 60 percent with a variation.
On June 28, a North West government delegation led by Acting Premier Nono Maloyi went on a walkabout on the Nelson Mandela Drive and announced an intervention to fast-track the project. Maloyi’s entourage included Public Works and Roads MEC Saliva Gaoage Molapisi and Kgantsi. They met with Ngqola and a subcontractor, Actophambili, which was brought on board to assist Khosi Vuyo Solutions.
However, locals said very little progress was still happening on site.
“That “intervention” by the provincial government on Nelson Mandela Drive, Mahikeng does not seem to be working at all. I drove past there yesterday and today and there is hardly any noticeable progress on site in spite of the variation from R47m to R79m. Nothing to write home about and no visible activity that talks to the “intervention”. I suspect there is a mother of all challenges on this project,” said a local man.
Ngqola, Khosi Vuyo’s director, said: “I know nothing about the Bigen letter”.
He declined to comment further about the Nelson Mandela Drive project, saying he was “busy with people”.
North West Department of Public Works and Roads spokesperson, Matshube Mfoloe, said the department had decided not to respond to media enquiries anymore pending the completion of a forensic investigation ordered by Molapisi.
Meanwhile, the Hawks in the North West have opened an enquiry against Kgantsi and businessman Oberon Matsuvuki over the awarding of the R134 million Khunotswana contract.
The complaint, businessman James Gadinabokao, said the Hawks told him they needed to gather information first before opening a criminal case. Gadinaboka, the president of NGO Gatvol, told African Times two weeks ago that he planned to lay charges of corruption against Kgantsi and Matsuvuki.