Saldanha Bay police boat gathering dust in Cape Town
March 8, 2010 by: admin
A R35-million fleet of new police patrol boats has been confiscated by court officials after the company building them went bust.
FULL STOP: This half-finished skeleton of a police patrol boat is in a warehouse in Cape Town after being seized by the court
Nearly three years after the tender was awarded to a Cape Town company, the four hi-tech boats are gathering dust in a warehouse without ever having put to sea.
Now police want to pull the plug on the fleet, which is still under construction and has so far cost taxpayers between R10-million and R20-million.
The vessels were to have had the latest navigational equipment, sleeping and ablution facilities for six permanent crew and eight additional people, and a cruising speed of 21 knots.
They were due to be deployed in Saldanha Bay, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Richards Bay, where some of the boats from the 90-strong police sea arm – dilapidated from years of neglect – are kept.
The Sea Border Unit is demanding its money back from Eraco Boat Builders, who successfully applied for liquidation last month in the High Court in Cape Town. Eraco claim to have been hard hit by price increases during the recession.
Eraco legal representative Julian Jones, from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, said: “As a result of the increase in the project price, SAPS refused to inject further funds into the project or pay for work done. In fact, SAPS has demanded a refund of all monies paid to the corporation and has confirmed that it will not be furnishing additional funds.”
One boat is 90% complete, a second 50% and a third and a fourth only 30%, Jones said.
Eraco owner Deon Erasmus said: “We would really like to get the boats finished for the police. I want to save these boats for South Africa.”
Police said they were preparing a response. “It’s a complicated matter,” said national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Lindela Mashigo.