project, despite not having a variation order. “Maganedisa told me that government would pay me as soon as I was done with the project. He said government would not let me down,” she said. Shezi said she then continued working and managed to finish the entire project, including the additional toilets and walkway, by January 2007. But instead of being paid, she was left with mounting debts to several supplier companies. Maganedisa denied any knowledge of making such an undertaking on behalf of the department, adding that he did not even remember Shezi. “The complainant is not telling the truth ... I didn’t give her verbal instructions to do additional work, nor was I permitted to give or approve variations of work. I resigned from the department in August 2006 and I don’t remember the complainant,” he said. City Press saw the classrooms and the toilet facilities that Shezi built, which are still in good condition and are being used daily by pupils. Shezi said after months of failing to settle her bills, and with the provincial government not interested in talking to her about its outstanding balance, she was taken to court by SA Timber in 2008, after which she lost her business and assets, including a bakkie. In 2012, she was evicted from her house in Panorama in Bethlehem by Cooper Trust over unpaid debts to SA Timber.
Two years later, her husband died, which forced her to move in with her son in Bohlokong township.
“I have nothing. Seeing my house [auctioned off] just brought me sorrow and grief. All I do now is cry and wonder why this happened to me,” she said.
After receiving Shezi’s documents, Bandile Ntombela, the senior manager of information and communication technology at the Free State department of public works and infrastructure, told City Press that the department had begun scrutinising Shezi’s paperwork and that a thorough appraisal would be carried out.
“We now have all the project documentation. We are perusing these for answers,” Ntombela said. “Most of the role players mentioned by Shezi have left our department, so we cannot answer on their behalf. The matter is being assessed. Please bear with us,” he said.
Oupa Segalwe, spokesperson for Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, told City Press that, although the office was not aware of the case, the matter warranted a probe, which would be instituted.
“I have forwarded the matter to our intake division and brought it to the attention of the Public Protector. We will take it from here,” he said.