Over R600 million blown on incomplete and abandoned government building projects

 ·8 Mar 2024

The Gauteng Provincial legislature wants answers from provincial departments and MECs over the mounting number of delayed, abandoned or incomplete government infrastructure projects – particularly in the education and health sectors.

There are numerous incomplete infrastructure projects across the province that have been delayed for years.

These were subsequently put under the spotlight by the provincial Portfolio Committee on Infrastructure Development and Property Management as a result of mounting pressure from dissatisfied communities.

“Millions of rands have been spent on projects that are either incomplete or abandoned,” wrote the committee at the end of 2023.

The committee summoned the Departments of Infrastructure and Property Development, Education, and Health on Wednesday (6 March) to explain the reasons behind these pricey delays.

“Day in and day out we have these promises [from provincial departments] saying ‘no don’t worry, we are aware of these problems’… [but] for the past 20 years you have been aware of these problems, but there has been no improvement,” said committee chairperson Bones Modise.

Committee members lambasted high-ranking representatives for allegedly dragging their feet when it came to incomplete or delayed infrastructure projects that have been cumulatively costing the fiscus billions.

Most recent estimates (from 2020) say that incomplete or delayed projects have cost the province over R620 million over recent years – however, this amount is now expected to be much higher.

The various provincial departments essentially placed the blame on “poor performing contractors” who “did not follow correct protocol,” and thus, some had their contracts terminated.

Gauteng Education Department chief director Refiloe Malete conceded to the committee that “we need to admit as the department that our professional service providers did not do justice [to many projects]… they did not follow the processes (required)”.

However, committee members, like Busisiwe Mncube, were not impressed by these responses, saying that there is “no sense of urgency” to complete these projects and that a more ‘hands-on’ approach by departments is needed.

In 2023, Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke and her department visited 132 infrastructure projects across the country, ranging from schools to health facilities and housing and water projects.

It was remarked that most of the projects sit idle or incomplete for various reasons. According to Maluleke, 82% of the projects showed either cost overruns or delays.

The auditor-general flagged numerous material irregularities in projects across the Gauteng province which have resulted in significant financial losses.

These notably include the incomplete Nancefield and Mayibuye Primary Schools and Khutsong South and Mayibuye Clinics.

Other expensive and prominent delayed or incomplete projects in the province include the Khutsong Hospital, Panorama No2 School, Rusoord Middle School, Kekanastad Clinic, Randfontein Community Health Care Centre, Kopanong Hospital, Kwa-Dedangendlale Secondary School, and Thubelihle High School.

Read: Thousands of government housing projects blocked or stalled – with some left waiting for 25 years

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