AG's office struggled to audit Alexandra Renewal Project, Alexandra inquiry hears

2019-07-26 16:27
The conditions in Alexandra, where people are living under.

The conditions in Alexandra, where people are living under. (Ntwaagae Seleka)

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When the Office of the Auditor General (AG) audited the controversial Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP), it found that R2.2bn had been used, but couldn't determine if the money was exclusively meant for the project. 

Initially, the project had a budget of R1.3bn. However, the AG's office found itself between a rock and a hard place during the auditing process due to the lack of availability of critical documentation from the municipality, provincial and national government.

Senior officials from the office of the AG were testifying before South African Human Rights Commission and Office of the Public Protector officials at the Alexandra inquiry in Braamfontein on Friday.

Earlier in the week, Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements and Urban Planning Lebogang Maile testified that more than R1.3bn was spent on the project.

READ'They are targeting the ANC' - Maile tells Alexandra inquiry

Business executive in the office of the AG, Kevin Lachman, submitted that the ARP was initially a presidential project. Budgets were ring-fenced and treated as such until 2013 and 2014.

Due to funding constraints, the ARP central office was disbanded in 2011, leaving regional heads to look after the project with limited resources.

As a result, some planned projects were not implemented.

"The ARP had no project implementation system and vital project documentation could not be produced for audit purposes. This included contracts, progress reports and variation orders," said Lachman.

Without these vital documents, auditing for water and sanitation, roads and storm water projects could not be audited and it was also difficult to assess the costs of the ARP.

Auditors found poor management, poor planning, poor departmental support and poor departmental cooperation during the auditing of the entire project.

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