North-West Public Works and Roads MEC Gaoage Oageng Molapisi has ordered an internal investigation into a R134 million tender awarded to a contractor who previously abandoned two projects.
In a statement released earlier today, Molapisi said he had instructed the head of department (HOD), Moses Ikgopoleng Kgantsi, to immediately ensure a probe was conducted and a report was submitted to him by no later than Tuesday (July 11, 2023) next week.
African Times reported this week that the provincial Department of Roads and Public Works rewarded Ndhuna Civil Engineering Services with a multimillion contract for the upgrading of the Khunotswana road in Zeerust in December last year, despite the firm not completing two roads in Rustenburg and Hebron in 2021.
Owned by Gauteng businessman Oberon Matsuvuki, the company has been accused of inflating invoices and claiming for work not done.
“The MEC for Public Works and Roads, Gaoage Oageng Molapisi, notes reports of the tender awarded to Ndhuna Civils with great concern. This follows allegations and admission by the Department that the said contractor has been failing to perform on projects previously awarded due to various reasons, including poor workmanship.
“In a letter written to the Head of Department (HOD), Mr Moss Kgantsi, MEC Molapisi has directed that an internal investigation be conducted on this matter urgently, and a report be submitted no later than Tuesday, 11 July 2023,” said Molapisi’s spokesperson Lerato Gambu.
The MEC maintained that Matsuvuki’s appointment “perpetuates a wrong narrative about the Department, which we have been working hard to change”.
According to Molapisi, his department “should conduct its business in a transparent and accountable manner, and must remain responsive on issues of service delivery”.
Molapisi is not the only one who is up in arms over the controversial Ndhuna contract.
James Gadinabokao, the president of the GATVOL party, told African Times that Kgantsi should be suspended, and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) be cleared by President Cyril Ramaphosa to get to the bottom of tender irregularities, fraud and corruption in the province.
He has also vowed to open criminal charges against Kgantsi and Matsuvuki, the managing director of the company at the centre of the saga.
The Khunotswana contract is among a string of questionable tenders awarded to Ndunha Civils in North West, Limpopo, Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal.
According to official documents, the company 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”.
Ndhuna Civil Engineering left two incomplete road projects in Rustenburg and Brits in 2021, after pocketing R25 million, claiming cash flow problems and community disruptions. However, after pocketing R15.1 million, Matsuvuki halted the contract alleging cash flow problems. 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.
Last month he 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. The first two invoices were rejected by the department.
Matsivuki did not respond to detailed questions sent last week about his track record in North West, poor workmanship, the basis on which he got a R134 million contract after abandoning two projects, and allegations that he paid officials and politicians kickbacks to get his tenders. He initially agreed to an in-person interview but later ignored follow-up calls to schedule it.