The IFP, as the Official Opposition in the KZN Legislature, calls upon the KZN MEC for Transport, Sipho Hlomuka, to come clean as to how an incompetent contractor, Umso Construction, was appointed for the upgrade of roads in uThukela District.
We have been reliably informed that Umso Construction failed to complete road projects in the Eastern Cape Province, and that the contract was terminated due to poor performance. The contractor is allegedly now going under business rescue. Surprisingly, it is alleged that the same contractor was awarded a tender amounting to over R404 million to upgrade roads in uThukela District.
We are of the view that corruption is involved. It is incumbent upon the KZN MEC for Transport, Sipho Hlomuka, to tell the public how and why a contractor with this type of track record was appointed.
The IFP has, in the past, raised its concerns about government departments that appoint incompetent contractors. Serious questions must be asked: how were these contractors awarded a tender to build roads? Where are the checks and balances? Is there collusion between these companies and departmental officials?
It is of great concern that the Department has not provided a list of companies that have been blacklisted due to their incompetence or attempted to recoup money from them.
As the IFP, we believe that the supply chain management (SCM) processes have been flouted. SCM is an essential tool for managing public procurement and SCM processes are intended to identify deficiencies in current practice relating to procurement, contract management, inventory and asset control, and obsolescence planning.
The IFP believes that strong political will is required to drive anti-corruption activities in the supply chain and procurement processes. There should be a concerted effort to fight and combat corruption by ensuring that people with integrity are appointed in SCM. Further, the culture of impunity and patronage that often enables the deployment of unqualified people to sensitive offices should be abolished.
Mr Blessed Gwala MPL
Leader of the Official Opposition in KZN Legislature
078 290 5842