Water project overdue

The community of Ga-Molepo and Ga-Chuene are still left without clean, running, accessible water, as the R75 million water project in the area has not been completed yet.

LIMPOPO – DA Councillor in the Polokwane Local Municipality, Tiny Chidi  said despite the completion dates, the appointed contractors requested a five-month extension period.

This has left residents deprived of the most basic service, she said.

“The DA can confirm that the contractors are ill-equipped to complete these projects due to inadequate finances. The municipality has received requests from contractors to inject R10 million additional funding to carry out the projects, however no reports outlining valid reasons for the extension were provided.”

According to the DA, the Chuene–Maja Water and Sanitation project was allocated R37 million in the 2015/16 financial year from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG).

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The project commenced in August 2015 and was supposed to have been completed in November 2016 but the contractor requested an extension of five months while the percentage expenditure is currently at 56,2% and we can confirm that the project will still not be completed in April 2017,” she said.

The DA further revealed that the completed Rampheri access road was allocated R6,8 million but that only 93% was spent while the remainder has not been accounted for.

The Mamatsha road (Makubung to Bosega phase 3) project was allocated R8 million in October 2015, but the contractor has abandoned the project and yet the municipality intends pumping a further R5 million into the next phase, without prior investigation or commitment to hold the contractor accountable for the delay, Chidi said.

During an oversight visit three weeks ago, the DA noted “shoddy workmanship” by the contractor and now the surface of the road has been washed away by the recent rain.

According to the 2016 Auditor General report, Polokwane Municipality is the highest contributor to irregular and unauthorised expenditure in the province at R1 billion.

“It is clear the municipality does not have monitoring systems in place to assess the progress of all municipal projects before paying the service providers and contractors. We urge the mayor to launch an internal investigation to probe these abandoned projects and ensure that no further budgets are allocated to these projects until the contractors are summoned to appear in council to account for their delay,” said Chidi.

Polokwane Municipality’s Stakeholder Relation Officer, Disree Manyane said the municipality did not receive any request for an additional R10 million, however the project was budgeted to be implemented as a multiyear project and R10 million is budgeted this financial year as part of the original contract to complete the project; not as additional funding as indicated by DA.

“The project was planned to be completed in December,  but due to other unforeseen technical challenges that are beyond the contractor’s control additional time was granted without additional cost to the contract.”

Manyane said the R37 million and R38 million indicated were not budgeted for in the same financial year due to an inadequate MIG allocation.

“Both projects will be completed as approved and failure to complete will result in penalties. The municipality can confirm that both contractors are still on site and that no one has abandoned the site as alleged by DA. The Molepo project is currently at 96% and Chuene Maja is 89%,” said Manyane.

“The Mamatsha project was fully completed during 2015/16 financial year. The Auditor-General has visited the project and no finding was made based on a comparison between initial plans and actual work done. The municipality has registered new projects to be implemented in the next five years and Mamatsha is not part of them. The road in question was not washed away, but we can confirm that the gravel at the edge of the road was affected.”

“As indicated that it happened during recent rains, the municipality is assessing the damage and the contractor will be requested to fix the damage. If they fail, the retention guarantee that is kept by the municipality will be utilised.”
“The municipality has appointed professional engineering companies who are registered as professionals to design and monitor the construction. The municipality has established project management unit to monitor the progress together with project technicians in various service departments,” said Manyane.

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Nyambeni Mandiwana

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