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The Free State Department of Police, Roads and Transport has allocated R736 150 000.00 since 2019 to the filling of potholes and cutting grass next to provincial roads, but there is very little to show for it.
In 2019, R37 066 071.55 (34%) of the budgeted amount of R107 850 000.00 for that year was paid out, indicating that contractors did not do two thirds of the work they were contracted to do.
In 2020, R171 782 050.00 (78%) of the budgeted R222 100 000.00 was paid out, but there is very little to show for it. The current state of provincial roads is proof that work in many places wasn't done.
The department failed to disclose how much of the R406 200 000.00 budgeted for the 2021/22 financial year has been paid out.
What is also striking is that the budget of the Contractor Development Programme (CDP) companies doubled year on year from just over R100 million in 2019 to just over R400 million in 2021, whilst it was visible that the conditions of Free State roads during this period significantly deteriorated.
These CDP contractors are all at a different level of training to be able to do the work and in some cases work on site had to be stopped for technicians from the roads district authorities to assist and instruct them on how to do the work which they received contracts of millions of Rands.
Of the 71 companies the department appointed, a total of 7 are currently in the process of being deregistered or have already been deregistered due to annual report non-compliance as required by law. In some cases, the department also could not provide the accurate names of the directors.
The DA will, through our Free State spokesperson on Finance, David van Vuuren, take this matter up in the provincial legislature's Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts and Finance (PROPAC). We will also approach the Office of the Public Protector with a request not only to investigate the department's role in awarding these contracts and the payments made, but also the companies involved, specifically where advances where paid, but work was not done.
Issued by DA Free State member of the National Council of Provinces, George Michalakis