A company which abandoned two projects in North-West and had its contracts terminated for poor workmanship has scored a R134 million tender from the same provincial Department of Roads and Public Works.
African Times can today reveal that Ndhuna Civil Engineering Services left two incomplete road projects in Rustenburg and Brits in 2021, after pocketing R25 million, claiming cash flow problems and community disruptions.
According to official documents seen by African Times, Ndhuna Civils abandoned the project for the construction of the road between Segwaelane and Wonderkop, and another road between Hebron and Letlhabile, after receiving a notice of termination from the department due to “poor workmanship”.
The documents included appointment letters, service-level agreements, invoices and other correspondence between the two parties.
Despite Ndhuna Civil’s poor record in the North-West, the provincial Department of Roads and Public Works rewarded the company with a lucrative contract in December last year to upgrade the road between Khunotswana and the N4 at Zeerust in the Ngaka Molema District Municipality, according to official documents.
The Midrand, Gauteng-based company is owned by businessman Oberon Sungulani Matsuvuki, who has been accused of inflating invoices and claiming for work not done.
Matsuvuki allegedly spent part of the R25 million made from the abandoned projects on expensive clothes, liquor, cigars, holidays and parties at his home in Midrand.
The Khunotswana contract is among a string of questionable tenders awarded to Ndunha Civils in North West, Limpopo, Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal. According to the company’s website, Ndhuna Civil Engineering Services “provides a full range of services through our specialist Consulting Engineers, Civil Engineers, Structural Engineers, Geo-environmental Engineers, and Traffic Engineers”. It also promises “practical” and “cost-effective” design solutions.
The documents further show that Matsuvuki last month sent three invoices with different figures for the same job, which raised questions about potentially inflated or fraudulent claims by the company for its work on the Khunotswana project.
Ndhuna Civils had been awarded a R25,7 million contract to patch and reseal the road between Segwaelane and Wonderkop outside Rustenburg. However, after pocketing R15.1 million, Matsuvuki halted the contract alleging cash flow problems, according to official documents. He then abandoned the project after receiving a notice of termination for poor performance.
The same goes for the Hebron project, valued at R21.5 million, for the special maintenance of the road in the Brits area. Ndhuna Civils again abandoned the site after pocketing R10 million, claiming it had run out of cash.
Matsivuki did not respond to detailed questions sent last week about his track record in North West, poor workmanship, lack of qualifications and the basis on which he got a R134 million contract after abandoning two projects. He initially agreed to an in-person interview but later ignored follow-up calls to schedule it.
Matshube Mfoloe, the spokesperson of the North West Department of Roads and Public Works, confirmed that Ndhuna Civils abandoned the projects in Segwaelane and Hebron after being paid millions of rands. He confirmed that the department did send Matsuvuki a notice of termination for poor workmanship in relation to the Segwaelane project, adding that the contract was never cancelled.
“[The] contractor was paid R15.1 million. The contractor was never terminated. Only a “notice of termination’’ was sent to the contractor on May 11, 2021,” Mfoloe said.
Asked why the company did not complete the Segwaelane project, Mfoloe said: “Poor performance on site by the contractor coupled with cash flow challenges cited by the contractor then. The contractor cited community disruptions on the site then, which he speculated would not be conducive for work to resume on site.”
Mfoloe also confirmed that Matsuvuki did not finish the Hebron project, for which he was paid R10 million, due to “poor performance and workmanship by the contractor, cash flow challenges and issues, too, of non-compliance”.
Moreover, Mfoloe conceded that the department later awarded the same company a R134 million contract. “True, this is a contractor appointed for the road upgrade-gravel to tar- of Phase Three (3) (D479) of the road in Khunotswana,” he said.
Asked how and on what basis the North West Department of Roads and Public Works awarded a multimillion-rand contract to the same contractor who was terminated, Mfoloe replied:
“The contractor has only been issued with notices of termination, and the process to finally terminate the contract was never finalised.”
He said the department had not paid Ndhuna Civils a cent for the Khunotswana project as of July 4, 2023.
Mfoloe conceded that Matsuvuku sent the department three invoices with different amounts for the project last month. According to payment certificates signed by Matsuvuki and seen by African Times, Ndhuna Civils submitted its first invoice for an amount of R9.9 million on June 8, 2023.
After it was rejected, and questions were asked about how he arrived at the figure, he reduced the amount to R6.2 million and resubmitted it six days later on June 14. When the second invoice was also questioned, Matsuvuki finally reduced it to R3.3 million and sent it back on June 27.
“Yes, we do confirm the department received three (3) three invoices with different amounts ranging from between the figures cited from the contractor for the same certificate. The department rejected two of the invoices as, in our view, were not commensurate with the physical work on-site, and this was communicated to the contractor, who did not or has not disputed the action.”
“The third invoice (R3 million) has been assessed and was being processed for payment, provided no anomaly is picked up along the value chain. One can only assume the contractor erred on two occasions in his calculation of the figures to arrive at the money due to him for work done,” Mfoloe said.