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SIU to recoup money expropriated from the R4.1bn Giyani Bulk Water Project

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Lerato Mbhiza

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU)  has uncovered how the Giyani water project tender was awarded without following proper supply chain management processes and how it increased from R90 million to R2.2 billion and eventually to R4.1bn.

The SIU appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) to give an update on the investigations relating to the Department of Water and Sanitation, specifically the Giyani Bulk Water Project which started in 2014 and is yet to be completed.

The project, meant to provide clean running water into the taps of 55 villages in Giyani, Mopani District in Limpopo, collapsed in 2018 after allegations of corruption. 

While the residents of Giyani continue to struggle with getting proper water to drink, several delays and infrastructural challenges beset the project, with only 24 villages currently benefiting. 

The SIU has identified a corrupt relationship between state-owned Lepelle Northern Water (LNW) officials, service providers, and department officials.

The unit also found that there was no value for money as the project was not completed.

SIU program manager Gina Pretorius told Scopa that they have gone to the High Court in Limpopo to set aside the tender as it was awarded irregularly and unlawfully.

Pretorius, who was briefing Scopa on Tuesday, said the government wanted to address water challenges in the Giyani area back in 2014 and decided on the initially, government decided on an emergency contract of R90m

The SIU investigation also uncovered that the LNW paid R4.1 billion, which far exceeds the original contract value of R2.2 billion.

An expert called in to examine five of the 167 installed boreholes found that the costs had been inflated by R893,422,148.17 on the work that was reviewed.

The SIU has launched a damages claim in the Special Tribunal against former employees on LNW to the value of R1.9 billion.

As a result of the civil action, pension funds of the implicated LNW executives have been frozen. 

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