Public Works spends almost R1.5 billion on consultants

Issued by Tim Brauteseth MP – National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Spokesperson for Public Works, Transport, Public Service and Administration
14 Sep 2022 in News

The DA has exposed that the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has spent a whopping R 1 422 873 752 on all consultants between the 2019/20 and 2022/23 financial years for construction projects.

This reply was to a written question submitted by DA NCOP member Tim Brauteseth in August.

The reply exposes the Department’s complete lack of depth in qualified personnel to handle its work. The response confirms that the excessive use of consultants is “due to the lack of sufficient capacity” and that “the department continues to appoint private sector consultants to assist with the implementation of construction projects”.

Whilst the work of these consultants is not in question, the DA questions the attitude of the department when scores of graduates leave university and cannot find work.

Instead of building careers, the department seems more interested in building the bank balances of consultancy firms at the expense of R1.4 billion to the already strained fiscus. The use of consultants at this scale also adds significant time delays due to procurement processes.

As has been seen with the prestige projects and border washing lines of the past, Minister Patricia de Lille seems content to spend without constraint and foresight. South Africa desperately requires a capable state and that begins with building a competent public service complete with qualifications to do the work.

The minister should focus on building capacity within her department and not delaying projects while private consultants compete for their space through laborious procurement procedures.

The DA believes that the department should house a strong and expansive cohort of professional staff to finish projects on time and on budget.