Beneficiaries have yet to benefit from R37 million spent at Woodbridge agricultural project

03 Aug 2022 in Press Statements

Note to editors: Please find attached English soundbite by Roy Jankielsohn MPL.

The DA is concerned by the lack of progress at the Woodbridge Irrigation project outside of Thaba Nchu in the Free State. An oversight visit to the project showed that beneficiaries have not benefited from the large amounts of money invested in the project by the national and provincial governments. See images here, here and here.

A DARD report from 2022 found that beneficiaries are not receiving value for money and the contractors have very little progress to show for the money spent.

Since its establishment in 2005, copious amounts in investments was made:

  • In 2006, the Free State provincial government invested R2,48 million in storage facilities, feedlot kraals, water reticulation and weaners with feed.
  • Between 2015 and 2018, the national government invested R31,261 million on building dam wall canals, fences, storage facilities, irrigation and planting of crops.
  • Since 2017, the provincial government allocated an additional R6,799 million to the project of which R3,399 million has been paid to a contractor for irrigation pipes with very little progress.

The oversight visit indicates that the pipeline has come to a standstill with pipes clogged and not installed according to specifications. While money has been spent on implementing agents and contractors, the beneficiaries of the project – which now totals R37,040 million – have yet to benefit.

This project remains another example of the government’s expenditure on agricultural projects that appear to be designed to benefit implementing agents and contractors through infrastructure construction with no actual intention of ensuring that they benefit local communities or contribute to food security.

The DA will continue to expose these failed projects that have milked taxpayers and failed poor communities across the Free State.