Official sources say the municipality wants to dump the contractor and get another one but the contractor also says he’s fed up with them.
A contractor appointed to construct a 700 meter street at what was said to be a R5 million project in ANC regional leader Muzi Chirwa’s ward of Badplaas has left the project like that, citing the difficulty in working with the officials at the local municipality.
The abandoning of the project has left some community members believing that corruption was behind the halt but officials say the contractor is to blame.
The project would have been one of the first road projects in the underdeveloped ward 17 of Badplaas in the Chief Albert Luthuli municipality since the ANC took power in 1994 and was going to go a long way in restoring the lost trust that the ANC endures in the ANC chairman’s ward.
The tender was given to Dumisani Nkwanyana to come pave a 700m street beginning of August 2018. But beginning of October 2018 workers disappeared on site.
At the time Nkwanyana said he had been disrupted by the water “on the surface” but was going to return on site and complete the work before 2 December 2018.
This week Nkwanyana said the municipality and the consultancy have been giving him a hard time.
He said he experienced damages of R1.5 million on the site while earthworking the street and “when I claimed to the municipality they are not willing to co-operate”.
“It seems to me the project was meant for somebody else and I got it by mistake. I did write a report to the municipality about the damage [such as water pipes] that occurred on the street and other challenges we were facing but they don’t seem to want to co-operate. The project was basically funded from my pocket and I decided to leave,” Nkwanyana said.
He is trading through a company called Lefiso Projects. He was supposed to finish the 700 meter road on 2 December 2018 and was thereafter going to wait for funds from the local municipality in Carolina to continue paving other streets, at apparently R31 million.
When the project began last year it prompted a violent protest, with residents demanding that government prioritises a 4km main road than the 700 meter street.
The main road in Badplaas that residents wanted government to prioritise and which Lefiso Projects owner Dumisani Nkwanyana was gonna pave after paving the 700 meter street
But now that Nkwanyana has failed the first test and officials at the municipality are considering dumping him and appointing another one who will deliver the project fast ahead of the May 2019 elections, or at least be visible on site while politicians campaign for votes.
Ward councillor Mandla Motaung said they are “on the process of replacing the contractor”.
He said Nkwanyana has already been paid. “He claimed his money equal to what he said he did on site, which was less than a R1 million or something but as municipality we are not happy with the work. We believe he didn’t have the proper resources to undertake such a project. That’s why we are on the process of replacing him because we want the project to continue,” Motaung said.
Government wants to divert a road to another section, angering the other group from the other section.
A two-decade long cry for a road in Gert Sibande mayor Muzi Chirwa’s ward of Badplaas has divided the community, leaving tensions at a boiling point amongst the residents.
Government irked the residents a week ago when officials announced they would construct a 700m street and no longer the 4km main road that the residents are demanding.
013NEWS has seen the 700m street that the municipality intends to construct and municipal officials say this street will be paved at R5 million of taxpayers’ money.
It is located in Dlamini C and residents from Dlamini D believe it’s useless of government to pave this Dlamini C street and not prioritise the main road, which they say is being used by a lot of people and can make economic activities viable in the area.
The main road in Dlamini D that residents want prioritised.
Dubbed “a passage”, officials say the reason they are now opting to pave this 700m street and not the 4km Dlamini D main road is because of the “tight” R5 million budget.
On Thursday last week, angry residents from Dlamini D blockaded a road with rocks, school desks and burning tyres, demanding government comes listen to them.
They say “a passage” won’t help them and they accuse officials of prioritising it in order to rake in profits from the R5 million.
But another group, armed with dangerous weapons, came to the protesting residents, threatening to kill them and then began removing the rocks from the road that were left by the protesting group, accusing the protesting group of frustrating “development” in the area.
The armed group wants the 700m street, but is being accused by the protesting group of doing so because its members were promised jobs in the R5 million worth construction project of the 700m street and not really that they want development in the area.
“Since the first councillor in 1994 or something the matter of the road was put in the Infrastructure Development Program. Since then we have been waiting. Waiting, waiting. Very patient. Now the project comes, they divert it to that passage,” 62-year-old Mhlaba Nhlabatsi said.
He said local taxis can use the road to transport people in and out of their homes and can create economic development in the area.
Ward councillor Mandla Motaung said the situation is unfortunate. He said as government they want to satisfy everybody but the R5 million is too small to satisfy everybody.
“The contractor is already on site. He is given to pave the area until 2021. The total amount he wants to pave this street and the main road is R31 million, so currently the municipality has R5 million and we said with the R5 million let us put the 700m street and then we will wait for the next financial year where we will get another money and begin constructing the road. We are calling for calm as government, everybody will get a paving, it’s just the budget for now,” Motaung said.