The department of water and sanitation says it has terminated Khato Civils’ contract after the company abandoned a multibillion-rand project in Limpopo amid a protracted payment squabble.
Khato Civils was contracted to deliver the R3.5 billion bulk water supply project in Giyani. The company abandoned the project after five years when it was 92% complete.
The department announced yesterday that Lepelle Northern Water was currently working on the process to replace Khato to complete phase 1 of the project.
Lepelle is a state-owned water utility responsible for bulk water supply in the province on behalf of the national department of water and sanitation.
Departmental spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said yesterday the contract was terminated after the company abandoned the project in October last year.
Last week, police reported that a six-year old boy, Nsoku Mhlongo, drowned in a trench left by Khato Civils. The trench was filled with water after torrential rains fell in Limpopo over the past two weeks.
Yesterday, Ratau said the termination of the contract had nothing to do with the boy’s drowning.
“It happened before the drowning and the drowning issue is a different matter that still needs to be thoroughly investigated.”
The rocky relationship between Khato Civils and the department started after the latter failed to pay Khato Civils a service fee of R89 million.
“When we left the site, the department owed us R45 million and a further R22 million still had to be quantified by the engineers,” said Khato Civils CEO Mongezi Mnyani yesterday.
He refuted allegations that the contract had been terminated by the department as Khato did not have a contract with it.
“The department was paying Lepelle Northern Water, the implementing agent, and Lepelle paid LTE. We have a contract with LTE Consulting,” he said.
Mnyani added: “Khato pulled out after not being paid for over nine months. The department has since paid part of the money, but there’s a significant balance not paid. We left the site after the department failed to pay the July invoice of R45 million.”