North West Public Works and Roads MEC Saliva Gaoage Molapisi ordered his department to terminate the controversial Ndhuna Civil Engineering Services contract after the Provincial Public Accounts Committee (PPAC) demanded answers.
After initially ordering an internal probe into the R134 million Khunotswana tender, widely viewed as an attempt to cover up alleged tender fraud and corruption, Molapisi yesterday instructed the embattled head of department (HOD), Moss Kgantsi, to cancel the tender.
The contract was awarded to Oberon Matsuvuki’s Ndhuna Civils in December last year even though the company abandoned multi-million rand road projects issued by the same department in 2021.
However, African Times can reveal that the North West Legislature’s public accounts committee wrote to Molapisi’s department demanding answers and documents related to the controversial Khunotswana contract, as well as other abandoned projects.
In a letter sent to Kgantsi on June 14, three days before Molapisi’s surprising order, PPAC chairperson Vuisile Joba Dliso demanded written answers, on or before June 18, to the following questions:
- What is the name of the contractor the news report is referring to, who got appointed by the department after being terminated by the same department for poor quality work?
- Outline to the Committee the legislation and process followed by the department to comply with the appointment of the contractor, and if there was none compliance, provide reasons as to why, [and] steps taken for accountability and consequence management.
- Before termination, how much was the contractor appointed paid and for what?
- Kindly present to the committee [the] tender documents of two previous contractors (Rustenburg and Brits).
- Provide a handover report of the two mentioned projects.
- Provide the committee with proof or evidence of all amounts paid for the above projects.
- Upon termination of the contracts, was the project advertised and if so, provide [the] committee with the article where the tender was advertised.
In another letter, sent on the same day, Jobe also summoned Molapisi, Kgantsi and the department’s senior managers to appear before his committee on June 20 (Thursday).
“The purpose of the meeting is to give further clarity on the media allegations, where the department allegedly awarded a contract R134 million to a company which was previously terminated due to poor workmanship,” Jobe wrote.
In a media statement released on June 17, days after the public accounts committee demanded answers, Molapisi said the internal report he received from the department confirmed that Matsuvuki had abandoned projects.
Despite the businessman being issued with notices of termination, however, termination processes were never concluded. Neither did the provincial public works and roads department embark on a process to register a complaint against the contractor, Molapisi said.
“It is an anomaly that a project is abandoned, nothing is said about it, and officials continue with business as usual. I demand accountability for this negligence and waste of taxpayers’ money” Molapisi maintains. In finding a permanent solution to this matter MEC Molapisi has directed the HoD Mr Kgantsi to terminate the Department’s contract with Ndhuna Civil Engineering Services without delay,” Molapisi said.
Molapisi said he also ordered Kgantsi to institute a forensic investigation into the R134 million tender and “any other abandoned project by Ndhuna Civil Engineering Services”.
“The HOD must appoint an independent forensic investigation in line with the terms of reference provided, and within a period of six weeks of appointment, the investigation should be concluded. The outcomes of the investigation will be made public and whatever remedial actions recommended by the final report will be actioned to the latter; including consequence management recommended” he said.
African Times reported three weeks ago that Ndhuna failed to complete two roads – one in Rustenburg and another in Brits – despite being paid a total of R25 million in 2021.
Despite pocketing half of the value of the contracts, Matsuvuki abandoned the projects, claiming financial woes.
The contractor allegedly paid Kgantsi and Chief Financial Officer Peter Modika a R10 million bribe, which they promised to share with Molapisi, in exchange for the R134 million tender and other favours.
Meanwhile, after refusing to answer media questions for three weeks, Matsuvuku broke his silence yesterday.
In a statement posted on his Instagram page, the contractor denied abandoning projects, saying he merely “suspended” work on the Rustenburg and Brits roads pending the outcomes of contractual disputes with the North West Department of Public Works and Roads.
“Ndhuna Civil Engineering Services has no record of abandoning any project, but i can certainly confirm that suspension of works did occur for the two projects mentioned pending the outcomes of the contractual dispute between the client and ourselves, hence this process could not have any impact on the awarding of the famous R135m project,” Matsuvuku said.
“It is now two years later, the contractor has still not received any further communication from the department post response to the “intention to terminate” letter or any invitation to mitigate the situation even after demonstrating [an] interest to complete the outstanding works while we wait for outstanding payment due to us.”