THE Principal Secretary in the ministry of Police and Public Safety, Nkopane Monyane has accused the Public Works and Transport ministry of delaying the completion of its projects.
Mr Monyane said this in a recent interview with the Sunday Express. He said the Public Works ministry has stalled the competition of projects which include the renovations of police stations across the country due to delayed processing of suppliers’ payments.
Government construction work is handled and overseen by the Public Works ministry. The Public Works ministry is also responsible for the tendering processes of all public works under different ministries, building, designs and processing payments.
Mr Monyane said his ministry cannot be expected to take the blame for stalled projects since the ministry of Public Works slacks in performance and delays the submission of relevant documentation to his ministry for payments.
He however, admitted that the construction of police stations in Hlotse, Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek and Mokhalinyane which some started in 2014 has been delayed because some of his ministry’s officials worked on the project without involving the Public Works ministry.
He however, said the anomaly has since been corrected as it was caused by lack of information on the part of officials from his ministry.
“I will point out a few issues that remain a concern for us because contractors come to our offices when it is their time to get paid,” Mr Monyane said.
“That is because they know we are supposed issue out payments. However, that becomes a challenge when the ministry of Public Works delays the submission of the certificate of payment the ministry of Police.
“In this case we are forced to delay payments to the contractors and the delays also hurt us in some instances because contractors slack on their job and we end up missing deadlines for the completion of our projects. It also delays our access to the completed projects.
“This is because sometimes the contractors decide to stop working or some will hold us at ransom until we have paid and we do not want this to become the norm.”
Mr Monyane further said the fact that ministry often incurs interests and penalties whenever contractors’ payments are delayed, also disrupts the ministry’s budgets.
“This affects our budgets unnecessarily. If we were working collaboratively and, on a set timeframe such challenges, such costs could be avoided.
“While we have learned and worked on our mistakes it is our appeal that ministry of Public Works should also do the same when they assist other ministries.”
For his part, the ministry of Public Works Principal Secretary, Mothabathe Hlalele, disputed the claims by his counterpart and said his ministry always submits certificates of payment on time especially whenever they are satisfied with the work done by the contractors.
Mr Hlalele said as much as he was unaware of the delays of certificates of payments from his ministry, his ministry also has a staff shortage which hinders some of its processes.
“It is something that we need to look into when there is money to employ more personnel so that we can excel and perform our duties effectively without any complaints,” Mr Hlalele said.
He however, promised to follow up on the queries to ensure that his ministry’s name is not dragged into disrepute.
“If it happening (delaying certificates of payment) it is not to my knowledge. If there are contractors who have challenge, my office is always open for them to come and see me so that we can resolve their issues,” Mr Hlalele said.