S.Africa: R2,8million paid for failed rail project

Gauteng government allegedly spent more than R2million on the monorail project that never materialised. The R12billion project was designed to carry 1,5million people from Soweto to Johannesburg daily.

The project was initiated by then MEC for public transport, roads and works Ignatius Jacobs and then MEC for finance and economic development Paul Mashatile.

Democratic Alliance leader in the Gauteng legislature Jack Bloom said transport MEC Bheki Nkosi had confirmed that R2,8million was paid to Powerhouse Consortium, which was appointed to perform work related to the construction of the monorail project.

A week after the project was unveiled to the media on May 16 2007, then minister of Transport Jeff Radebe said he was not consulted about the project.

On June 2007, Mashatile and Jacobs issued a joint statement saying the project had been put on hold. In August 2007, the Cabinet decided to can the project.

The DA is now demanding that a probe be launched into the project, and that both Mashatile and Jacobs be called to answer.

“This is outrageous as Mashatile and Jacobs announced in June 2007 that the R12billion monorail project was put on hold until such time as the necessary processes, including consultation, had been undertaken,” Bloom said.

He charged that the project was hatched in secret and that it was to be financed, built and operated by a little-known Malaysian consortium.

However, Gauteng transport department spokesperson Philemon Motshwaedi defended the payment.

“Powerhouse did their work and submitted their report to the national minister and the province. That’s why they were paid,” Motshwaedi said.

Source: www.sowetan.co.za, 20100305

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