Ekurhuleni's R102m city project an 'unfinished shoddy mess'



18-06-2019
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Allegations of shoddy workmanship in a R102million project involving the Development Bank of SA (DBSA) and Ekurhuleni Municipality have rocked a flagship inner-city project which should have been completed in January.

Piled up rubble, unguarded material such as cement, uncovered foundations where steel structures were meant to be built, loose bricks and disintegrating storm-water drains are some of the issues plaguing the Germiston Urban Renewal project, which was meant to rejuvenate the CBD in Ekurhuleni’s seat of government.

Ekurhuleni has confirmed that it had resorted to penalising TCT Civil and Construction since the beginning of last month after the company allegedly failed to meet the extended deadline of April, for a project which began in November 2017.

The Star was reliably informed that the penalties total R5000 a day “due to TCT’s shoddy workmanship”, according to high-ranking city sources, but Ekurhuleni neither confirmed nor denied the amount. This amount would come to a R170000 total to date.

“In this regard, when it comes to phase 1b and 2a (of the project), we are concerned that the project was not completed by April 2019, hence penalties. However, we must say that we are satisfied with the work certified by the consultant so far, hence the payments made thereafter,” Ekurhuleni spokesperson Nhlanhla Cebekhulu said.

He said this phase of the development was 94% completed and would be finalised this month.

TCT was appointed to rejuvenate CBD streets through paving, resurfacing of roads, erecting steel structures around heritage sites and beautifying the city.

However, in a recorded interview with TCT director Thomas Ntsoane last week, he vehemently denied that he was paying penalties and blamed the project’s delays on Ekurhuleni’s other contractors that he alleged would destroy the work his company had done.

Ntsoane said he didn’t know when this project would be completed.

“What we experienced last year in November and December, we did a lot of work. When we came back in January, the other contractors came - because they need to install the pipes - they took all our work out. So, we applied for an extension of time, which was granted. Currently, we are waiting for the guys who are putting fibre (internet) under Ekurhuleni to hand out a certificate saying they’re done. Then we can come and close.

“We’re trying to avoid this opening and closing, opening and closing,” Ntsoane said.

Ntsoane last week instructed his lawyers from Kraljevich & Janse van Vuuren to write a legal letter to The Star, saying he was duped into giving the interview with the newspaper.

But emailed questions were sent to Ntsoane, who insisted in the recording that he would answer over the phone.

Ekurhuleni spokesperson Cebekhulu said TCT would “only be paid a final (amount) once all outstanding work had been completed”.

DBSA spokesperson Sebolelo Matsoso said construction delays were common, which is why penalty clauses are inserted, but that the bank believed TCT was not guilty of any impropriety.

“DBSA’s infrastructure delivery division exists to enhance the capacity of the state to deliver social and economic infrastructure. We employ effective project controls, monitoring and reporting norms and standards,” Matsoso said.

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