Five officials from the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport have been arrested following the termination of a contract for the construction of William Nicol Drive, which was recently found to have been irregularly awarded.

The Gauteng Provincial Government has instituted disciplinary proceedings against the suspended officials, which include the department’s HOD, Ronald Schwartz, who has been placed on special leave.

The recommendation to suspend the five came after an investigation conducted by Provincial Treasury, at the request of Premier David Makhura, revealed serious irregularities in the awarding of the contract.

“The officials face disciplinary action in relation to the contract awarded to Lubbe Construction in 2015 for the K46 road construction project,” the Premier’s office said in a statement.

The company was to construct the stalled K46 (William Nicol Drive), which runs along Diepsloot to the N14 freeway.

Missed deadlines

According to the contract, which was signed in November 2015, the project was supposed to have been completed in September 2017.

However, this has not been the case with Lubbe Construction failing to complete the project within the stipulated timeframes despite having the contract extended on two occasions.

In addition, the company had not maintained a valid performance guarantee for the project since November 2017.

New tender to be initiated

The premier’s office has confirmed that the contract has since been terminated and a new tender will be initiated through the Open Tender system.

Makhura said the provincial government regards poor management by officials of infrastructure projects and dismal performance by contractors as “a serious matter”.

“As such, support from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has been enlisted to recover funds that were allegedly overpaid to the contractor,” he said.