The Democratic Alliance (DA) has filed a complaint with the Office of the Public Protector to probe the allegedly abandoned R107 million Seshego Treatment Centre project of the Department of Social Development. Polokwane Observer in last week’s edition published a story about the perceived abandoned centre with the headline ‘Seshego Treatment Centre worth R100 million abandoned – DA’.
It was reported that the project was expected to be have been officially completed in 2011 but the department had turned a blind eye thereon. DA Spokesperson on Social Development Suzan Phala had informed that while the original contract value of the project was R96 million it had, due to unnecessary contractual extensions, increased to R100 million. To date the amount stands at R107 million and the centre is still incomplete and remains abandoned, according to Phala.
Phala encouraged the Public Protector to commence with investigations to ensure that unauthorised expenditure is exposed and officials held accountable.
Despite the delay, the Independent Development Trust (IDT) is alleged to have paid sub-contractors an additional R2 million for interest and escalation, and an additional R5 million for the extension of time and costs, according to her.
Social Development Department Spokesperson Adele van der Linde explained in the article that the department was put under administration in November 2011 partly as a result of not being able to meet its contractual obligations due to budgetary shortfalls experienced by the department.
She further said the total amount paid to the service provider was R100,7 million with the initial budget being R96,4 million and R15,6 million budgeted to complete the centre in the current financial year.
Provincial Government Spokesperson Phuti Seloba outlined that the Provincial Government Executive Council (Exco) had requested that a complete report on Seshego Treatment Centre be presented to the council in the next sitting scheduled for 28 June. He was speaking during the Post Exco media briefing at Mowaneng last Thursday and further indicated that people have been waiting for the centre for many years but the department failed to deliver hence officials would have to account.
The Office of the Public Protector confirmed that the DA filed a complaint regarding the centre last Wednesday and that they were busy assessing it before investigations could commence. The office further explained that there were a lot of steps that needed to be followed before investigations could be conducted.
Story: ENDY SENYATSI