Centurion Aerospace Village fully operational

Pretoria - The Centurion Aerospace Village (CAV) is fully operational with the Department of Trade and Industry fully committed towards its development, said Minister Rob Davies.

“The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) is fully committed towards the development of the CAV into a leading supplier park in the aerospace and defence, manufacturing and services sector,” said Minister Davies on Thursday.

This after the Democratic Alliance (DA) held a press conference alleging the absence of buildings at the village and inaccurate allegations regarding processes involving an investigation instituted by the dti, among others.

To date, the dti said, the CAV has one tenant which is a company which is a global supplier of aircraft components. The company was awarded a tender to supply Airbus in an open international tender, requiring globally competitive capabilities.

According to the dti, the CAV is well placed to attract further tenants in the aerospace and defence manufacturing and related services sector.

“Supplier parks and clusters of this nature have a long start-up phase where the provision of infrastructure is critical to their success. It is for this reason that the continued installation of the bulk earthworks infrastructure will continue and pave the way for the entry of more tenants and the development of a successful supplier park,” said the department.

In addition, R94 million was transferred to the CAV, of which R67 million has been utilised for bulk infrastructure and the construction of buildings.

Investigations into irregularities

When coming to the investigation, when the dti first became aware of possible irregularities at the village, the department immediately instituted an internal audit in August 2012.

Thereafter an independent forensic audit was commissioned in July 2013 and the final forensic audit reports were presented to the dti in August 2014.

Arising from the findings of the audit investigations, the dti initiated disciplinary action against staff, including action involving the immediate dismissal of a director responsible for the programme.

The dismissal was pre-empted by the resignation of the staff member concerned.

“Nevertheless the dti is pursuing criminal charges against the individual concerned and with the intention of recovering funds as recommended in the audit. The legal services section of the dti currently awaits a pre-trial conference date for these proceedings.”

Disciplinary action has been taken against one chief director.

In both cases, the staff members are accused of negligence in the performance of their duties.

“In respect of recommended criminal proceedings against two individuals, including a former dti employee as well as a company, a case was opened with the South African Police Services at the Sunnyside Police Station in December 2013.”

In the case of one CAV employee, the dti has instructed the Board of the CAV to take appropriate disciplinary measures.

With respect to matters of oversight and governance, the development and implementation of a more robust finance, governance and oversight system and appropriate institutional arrangements at the CAV was concluded and put in place, among others.

- SAnews.gov.za