Focus on infrastructure projects

Monitoring team finds mixed bag of successes and challenges.

The Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), administered by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, aims to eradicate municipal infrastructure backlogs in poor communities.

This is to ensure the provision of basic services such as water, sanitation, roads and community lighting.

In Emfuleni Local Municipality, infrastructure projects are undertaken in the Infrastructure Planning, Development and Asset Management (IPAM) Department.
On Wednesday, 21st November, officials from IPAM and the municipality’s Monitoring and Evaluation and Facilities Departments undertook a tour of selected infrastructure projects in the municipality.

Led by Warden Moeti, the Manager for the Monitoring and Evaluation Department, the physical inspection of projects revealed the following information:

  • Disputes between the main contractor and sub-contractors delay the completion of projects. However, there are sometimes disagreements on scope of work and costs between the main contractor and the municipality which also hamper progress.
  • The municipality has had to terminate contractors for sheer incompetence following poor execution of the work contracted – this often means a new contractor should then be appointed, costing the municipality more to complete a project than previously planned.
  • Despite challenges, there are many projects the municipality has initiated and completed to the benefit of residents in respective wards.
  • Some contractors flout basic project rules by failing to, among others, pay for water used in the process of construction, properly de-establish project sites and remove excess supplies from sites once the projects are complete.

1. BOIPATONG EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT (ECD) CENTER

This facility was expected to be completed earlier in March this year, but remains incomplete following a dispute between the current contractor and the municipality. The municipality previously terminated the initial contractor for incompetence. The current contractor claims to have reached the end of the scope of the project and discussions are underway to unlock and complete the project. There may be additional costs incurred in the process. In the 2017 State of the Municipality Address (SoMA) it emerged that an estimated amount of R24 million was budgeted for this facility. Once completed, this facility will cater for children, the aged and people living with disabilities.

2. MOEDI YOUTH DEVELOPMENT CENTER – SHARPEVILLE

The municipality is converting this former school into a live-in shelter for destitute, orphaned and vulnerable children. Once completed, this facility will have residences where the children will live on the premises, an administration block, and kitchen and conferencing space. A new contractor is on site working, following the termination of a previous one. This project is at 48% completion with work on the roof, electricity and plumbing underway. It is expected to be completed sometime next year.

3. RAMOKHOASE STREET – SHARPEVILLE

This is one of the successful projects that the municipality and residents of Sharpeville in Vuka are proud of. Pensioner, Mme Dijane Tsoai said she was overjoyed when the project was completed, leaving the area with a tarred road, with paved sidewalks, storm-water channels and retaining walls in front of the yards of some residents. “We’re very happy and thank the municipality for building this road,” she said. The monitoring team was only concerned about one part of the road where flooding occurs whenever it rains, forcing residents to create a makeshift drainage system. IPAM promised to follow up on this through the defect and liability clause with the contractor.

4. SHARPEVILLE EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT (ECD) CENTER

The Sharpeville ECD, a project that was started nearly a decade ago, has seen contractors coming and going. The current contractor on site is busy with remedial work – minor repairs, cleaning, painting and tiling, but the facility is nearly complete. The ceiling work had to be changed and once completed; this ECD will cater for children, the elderly and persons with disabilities. Previously, several appliances were stolen, including stoves and fridges, forcing the municipality to place and pay for security at the facility. The initial cost for the project was R22 million, as announced in the 2017 State of the Municipality Address (SoMA).

5. EVATON WEST EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT (ECD) CENTER

This facility is almost complete, with only minor work outstanding. The contractor is on site for finishing touches on windows and doors. Initially planned for completion by November 2017 at a cost of R17 million, the facility will only cater for children once completed.

6. EVATON WEST TRAFFIC PRECINCT

Located next to fire station in Beverly Hills Phase 3, this facility was built and completed in 2016. However, it was soon discovered that part of the facility was built on top of municipal servitudes – underground water and sanitation lines. This caused massive delays in handing over the project and while a solution was sought, some glass doors and zinc-sheets for the parking areas were vandalized in incidents of attempted break-ins and theft. This compelled the municipality to place security at the precinct to prevent further damage. The monitoring team raised concerns over sewerage spilling into the facility from nearby houses. Some minor works are outstanding including painting, installation of solar power and repairs to the roof. Once all this work is completed, the facility will be assessed with the intention of issuing a certificate of occupation, which will allow the municipality to use the facility for the first time.

7. SWINE FLU STREET – SEBOKENG ZONE 14

This road has been tarred with storm-water channels installed and paved sidewalks built. While this project has been successful, some residents raised concerns with the monitoring team that after the road was built; some of them struggled to drive into their yards due to raised surfaces. IPAM promised to find solutions for affected residents. There were also concerns that the contractor had left the site without clearing excess materials and therefore site de-establishment was not done properly

By Wandisile Kunene
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