Nxesi laments public works over-pricing
Johannesburg - The public works department will only comment on the security upgrade at Nkandla once an investigation into the matter completed, Minister Thulas Nxesi said on Friday.
“Once we get the report we will analyse it. If there are things that have not been properly followed we will allow the law to take its course,” he told reporters at a construction industry transformation summit in Kempton Park.
“It's premature then, when I've put (together) an investigation, to make certain comments. Let me allow (time) for that investigation... Therefore we should wait until the process is finalised.”
Nxesi said he had always been transparent with the media and would continue to be with the report.
He added that there had been a trend in his department of over-pricing projects and renovations.
“I don't want to pre-empt the report, but there is a particular trend in public works of over-pricing the projects. That is why you would notice that people have been suspended in the department and some people have been charged.”
"Everything in public works has been over-priced, everything," he said. He was referring to various upgrades the department had done.
Nxesi said Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi needed renovations done and that public works quoted his department R28 million.
"The technical people in minister Motsoaledi's office, they said no, we are mad, and then it was done at R5 million.
"So, everything in public works is over-priced. The reason is because you don't use the right professionals to check the work of others."
Ineffective procurement processes, over-pricing, fraud, and corruption needed to be addressed, Nxesi added.
"Every time I go to a (parliamentary) portfolio committee, I emerge there bruised by these members."
He said corruption affected not only government, but also the private sector, and that there were syndicates in some sectors.
South Africa needed to rebuild the technical capacity to build infrastructure and to manage relationships with contractors and service providers.
The Auditor General and a public works task team had been assigned to investigate all the department's projects, including the upgrade to Zuma's private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.
It had been declared a national key point and upgraded at a reported cost of more than R200 million, of which Zuma would reportedly pay only five percent. This reportedly included road upgrades around his home.
On November 15, Zuma told MPs that the government had not built his home.
“All the buildings and every room we use in that residence were built by ourselves as family, and not by government,” he said, responding to a question in the National Assembly last week. - Sapa