Contractors furious as municipality pays ‘ghost workers’ for their work
Workers threaten to damage revamped Hlohlokwe Road
Contractors who upgraded a road in Limpopo are threatening to damage it because the municipality has reportedly paid another company that had nothing to do with the work.
Four companies that upgraded the Hlohlokwe Road in Ga-sekororo claim that the Maruleng municipality owes them more than R1-million collectively.
Whiskey Makwalana, the director of WH Civil Engineering, who was the main contractor during the Hlohlokwe Road upgrading project that was conducted in 2018, said he was surprised when his invoice was rejected on September 11 last year on the grounds that the money had already been paid.
“We investigated the matter and found that the municipality’s corrupt officials paid the money to someone who was not even part of the projects and our signatueres have been forged. We performed the duty very well and completed it,” said Makwalana.
“When I approached the municipality, I was told that the payment of about R60 000 was made for the service that we rendered.
“The agreement was that we do half of the project, they pay R600 000, and when we complete the project, they pay the balance of another R670 000.
“What is happening here is wrong because I took an overdraft of R500 000 when I was preparing for the project, now I am unable to pay back the money.
“Early this year, the municipality made a proposal to settle the matter without involving other authorities and I agreed, but still, they disappeared. On the other hand, I owe my subcontractors a lot of money.”
He said subcontractors were angry with him and did not believe him when he told them that the municipality did not pay him.
He said they agreed with the subcontractors that if the municipality failed to pay, they would damage the road.
A document seen by Sunday World shows that Makwalana’s company was awarded a tender to upgrade 90 metres of the Hlohlokwe Road, of which 30 metres was completed, while other documents reveal that Makwalana’s company and his subcontractors were the only companies that upgraded the road.
A subcontractor who did not want to be named said he was owed more than R70 000 for the work he did on the project. “The municipal owes us. I can’t talk too much because I will be victimised.”
When contacted for comment,
Four companies claim that the Maruleng municipality owes them R1m
Maruleng municipality spokesperson Soly Mahumane said: “Since he [Makwalana] decided to involve other people on the matter, we are unable to comment. It would have been better if he interacted with us without involving the third parties.
He reported the matter to the Hawks, and they were here to investigate, and now he also sends the media.”
Hawks spokesperson in Limpopo Captain Matimba Maluleke confirmed the case was investigated and then handed over to the provincial police. Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo did not respond to questions sent to him.