Minister of Transport and Communications, Dorcas Makgato has vowed to uproot institutionalized corruption that is running rampant in her ministry. Makgato just like her boss, President Mokgweetsi Masisi, says she shuns corruption as it wastes millions of public funds.
Addressing North East District full council meeting on Tuesday, Makgato who is also Member of Parliament for Sefhare-Ramokgonami constituency admitted that there are some public servants in her ministry that are facilitating corruption, resulting in government losing millions of pula that could have been used to construct roads infrastructure. To show commitment in dealing with the matter that gives her sleepless nights, the Minister explained that currently her ministry is investigating cases of corruption involving some officers. “Heads are going to roll very soon, some people are going to be fired and stand trial for being involved in corrupt practices, just watch the space” she told the councillors.
According to Makgato, it has come to her attention that some public servants within her ministry connive with contractors to launch unnecessary complaints after tenders have been awarded which greatly affect service delivery as some projects have been put on hold. To curb the challenges, Makgato revealed that they are currently working in collaboration with Public Procurement and Assert Disposal Board (PPADB) to review the process of registering complaints and grievances. The intension is to make it very difficult for contractors to launch unnecessary protests that lead to cost over-runs. “Currently cost over runs in my ministry are at around 60 per cent, which is totally unacceptable as it is evident that we are spending too much funds on projects that could have been implemented within a reasonable budget,” she added. Makgato observed that even some consultants are part of the syndicate that robs government millions. She declared that some consultants are deliberately charging exorbitant prices.
Regarding road networks in North East, the minister narrated that the construction of the much awaited Tshesebe -Masunga road will resume in the third week of July. In 2017, government decided to terminate the contract of Bash Carriers for poor performance. The company was awarded the lucrative tender at the tune of P429 million. Makgato told councillors that her ministry has now opted for selective tendering process to hunt for a company that will complete the remaining works. She revealed that names of the selected contractors were submitted to PPADB on June 20 for adjudication. Makgato expressed optimism that everything will go according to plan to ensure that the project is completed in the near future.
In their response, councillors pleaded with Makgato to put a close eye on the Ministerial Tender Committee (MTC). Councillor Paulos Nkoni accused MTC of awarding lucrative tenders to undeserving contractors. He argued that such a move results in delayed project completion as such companies do not have the capacity to deliver on time and within budget. Another councillor, Smarts Mathonsi questioned the criteria used to award the tender to refurbish Tshesebe- Masunga road to the terminated contractor saying the company has a reputation of failing to complete projects. “They even failed to pay former employees,” he fumed.
Since ascending to the presidency more than a year ago, Masisi has made a promise to battle corruption which saw a major shake-up in leadership at the corruption bursting agency, Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC). Brigadier Joseph Mathambo was brought in as the head of DCEC, replacing Bruno Paledi.
Mathambo has since hit the ground running by resuscitating about 20 cases that have been gathering dust. DCEC officers have been conducting raids in offices of some of the prominent business people in an effort to solicit concrete evidence.