Tender corruption sinks Phake’s water project

The department of water and sanitation must be hauled over the coals for the failed R18-million water project, which residents claimed was riddled with corruption, community leader of Phake in the Dr JS Moroka municipality, Phuti Sibanyoni told Sunday World. 

The failed project, which was expected to provide much-needed relief to several villages within the municipality, is said to have been badly managed, bringing no relief to the community, and causing a lot of unhappiness to the villagers.

Community leaders who spoke to Sunday World claimed that despite a forensic investigation of 2020 showing the project was badly managed and riddled with corruption, the department had not instituted legal proceedings against the implicated parties or made any attempts to recoup the lost money.

“The forensic probe was released in 2020, and confirmed our suspicions of fraud and corruption, revealing that the councillors and some senior municipal employees benefited unduly.

“Boreholes meant to be drilled in communities were instead installed in the homes of councillors.

Companies that did not meet tender requirements were given work, and the project was never completed,” said Sibanyoni.

The water project was part of the department’s drought relief programme meant to assist areas that were severely hit by water shortages.

These include areas such as Nokaneng, Phake, and Mmametlhake in the eNkangala district.

The bungled tender fiasco saw the villagers fork out their own hard-earned money to buy water from private vendors. 

Another community activist, Lefa Moloi, said the residents had no hope that those who stole from the community would ever face the music.

“We know that by speaking out we are putting our lives in harm’s way, but we are willing to make the sacrifice.

“The call we are making is that justice must be seen to be done. The department of water and sanitation must ensure that the rogue elements are arrested and forced to pay back what they have stolen from the community,” said Moloi.

In response to damning allegation against the department of sanitation, and its failure to take action against those alleged to be involved in corrupt practises, spokesperson Wisane Mavasa said: “Regarding the investigation, the municipality is better placed to respond as the implementer of the project.”

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