Odendaalsrus Police Station: Millions wasted, delays and neglect

Issued by Sello Seitlholo MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure
01 Dec 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Sello Seitlholo MP

Millions have been squandered in the construction of the Odendaalsrus Police Station, leading to the appointment of a new contractor. Despite an initial budget of R77 million, R43 million had already been spent by July 2020.

During an oversight on August 31, 2023, it was revealed how the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure failed to deliver suitable buildings for essential services like SAPS. The Odendaalsrus Police Station is just one of many abandoned projects, costing South African taxpayers while benefiting unaccountable contractors.

To provide context, the planning and inspection processes started in 2006, with actual construction commencing in August 2018 and continuing until 2019. Numerous plan changes caused delays, and specialists involved in planning, including architects and electricians, claim they haven’t been paid since 2006.

Sub-contractor protests referred to as Business Forums or the construction mafia, led to the site’s closure. Despite the R43 million expenditure, the current state of the station is dire, featuring inadequate facilities, incomplete buildings, and a lack of essential services such as phone and internet lines. Security issues, including theft and unsafe conditions, further highlight the project’s mismanagement.

The Odendaalsrus Police Station is not an isolated case; it exemplifies the failure of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and its implementing agent, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). The DBSA, tasked with rebuilding parts of a burned-down building, is mired in inefficiency. In response to inquiries during portfolio committee meetings in October and November 2023, the department revealed ongoing efforts to replace the contractor, with the contract award expected by December 15, 2023, and site handover anticipated by the end of January 2024.

The DA will embark on a follow-up oversight to this station in January to ascertain if a contractor had indeed been appointment.

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