AG unable to confirm corruption in Alexandra Renewal Project

Four men sit on top of a shack in Alexandra and watch the Jukskei river, which runs dangerously close to homes after the river eroded the bank. (Ihsaan Haffejee, GroundUp)
Four men sit on top of a shack in Alexandra and watch the Jukskei river, which runs dangerously close to homes after the river eroded the bank. (Ihsaan Haffejee, GroundUp)

The office of the Auditor-General was unable to confirm on Friday to a South African Human Rights Commission hearing if it had found instances of corruption in the embattled Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP).

Earlier this year, the SAHRC and the Office of the Public Protector launched an investigations into what had happened to the ARP funds, following protests in the township earlier this year. 

Concerns had been raised by Alexandra residents that the R1.3bn that had been set aside for the 2001 project had been squandered. 

On Friday, the AG's office sat for the last day of the fourth sitting of the Alexandra inquiry. Here is what it revealed:

  • Initially, R1.3bn was budgeted for the project, aimed at revamping Alexandra. Officials from the AG's office testified that R2.2bn was spent, however the office could not confirm if all that money was used exclusively for ARP;
  • Government officials, who were responsible for the smooth running of the ARP, failed to comply with auditors. The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements failed to provide relevant documents to auditors, as well as approved business plans of how some ARP projects were going to be implemented;
  • Auditors found a lack of cooperation from all three spheres of government - local, provincial and national - during its auditing of funds spent.
  • Audit procedures were only limited to electrification and some building projects. Auditors did not have sufficient information to audit water and sanitation, roads and storm water projects, and procurement from the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements. The lack of documentation for auditing resulted in auditors not being able to answer all relevant questions at the inquiry;
  • The AG's office found there was poor project planning and lack of documentation to assess the planning of the ARP. In addition, individual projects within ARP were not effectively implemented and monitored;
  • Going forward, the office of the AG recommended the establishment of proper documentation and filing systems to track information and monitor projects. 

The hearing adjourned on Friday.  

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