Builders’ body denies influencing tender

2014-04-09 00:00

THE National Homebuilders Regulatory Authority (NHBRC) has denied it tried to influence a multi-million rand tender process to deliver water tanks to poor households in KwaZulu-Natal.

The organisation was recently accused by a Corruption Watch report of forcing a Johannesburg-based water storage company — Hydrotek International that in October 2011 had secured R97 million to manage the roll out of 24 000 water tanks — into using pre-determined sub-contractors to install the tanks, with one of the installers being a former council member of the authority.

Just five months later the contract was withdrawn from Hydrotek and given to the same three pre-determined installers, with the NHBRC taking on Hydrotek’s role.

And in a leaked internal audit report, seen by The Witness and reported on last week, the NHBRC was found to have not complied with the Public Finance Management Act, that the controls in place to monitor such contracts were inadequate and that it overpaid its contractors contrary to their own policies.

But NHBRC spokesperson Wanda Lubelwana said the authority “views this insinuation in very serious light”, that they had acted corruptly, and challenged their accusers to prove they had been at fault. She also denied the existence of the internal audit report.

The organisation said there was no conflict of interest in allowing a former council member being awarded a contract as more than a year had passed since the members resignation.

In its report, Corruption Watch found that the “NHBRC eroded the role and authority of Hydrotek” and instructed the company to use pre-determined sub-contractors as installers, including Thandiwe Silinda, an NHBRC council member who resigned from the board in December 2010.

Their report also found that the work had been sub-standard.

“Ms Silinda resigned as a member of the NHBRC Council on December 31, 2010. The contracts were awarded [to Silinda] 14 months later on February 8, 2012. There is no conflict of interest in this regard. It is concerning to the NHBRC that such allegations are perpetuated in the public domain and done so in the interest of damaging the reputation of the NHBRC,” said Lubelwana.

She said the “miscellaneous internal audit report does not exist”.

“The report being referred to is, in actual fact, a preliminary draft management report aimed at assessing and reviewing the project’s progress to ensure quality deliverables at the end of the project,” said Lubelwana.

She also said the NHBRC “categorically disputes” the assertion that fraudulent payments were made to the service providers.

In October 2011, the NHBRC, on behalf of the Department for Human Settlements, was tasked with having 24 000 rain-harvesting water tanks installed across almost all the districts of the province.

“Following a NHBRC needs analysis, it was found that the required quantity was in excess of 24 000. A total of 27 396 water tanks have been installed,” said Lubelwana.

“The NHBRC identified gaps in the installation process and that some installations were not conducted in accordance to NHBRC set requirements.

“The CEO has tasked the installers to rectify sub-standard water tank installations at their own cost. This process is still ongoing and will continue until a final and detailed close-out report has been submitted.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.