Metro ends road upgrade contract

Buffalo City Metro municipality has finally pulled the plug on a controversial construction company that was under-qualified for the R117-million upgrade to the Qumza highway it was hired to do.

MEN AT WORK: The Qumza Highway upgrade is on hold for now Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA

According to BCM mayor Xola Phakati, the Diphatse contractor was fired three weeks ago and council is still to decide whether to re-advertise the contract or simply select the second contender from the initial bidding process.

The Daily Dispatch visited the site yesterday, to find the site completely cleared where Diphatse’s site office was. The temporary structures and heavy machinery protected by a thick net hanging from a barb wired fence was all gone. Only piles of sand and stone remained a stone’s throw away.

However, it was business as usual for Czar Construction, who were doing the plumbing, as well as Shone’s Electrical. They were seen digging trenches along the stretch of road.

BCM spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya said BCM was committed to ensuring the project was completed efficiently.

“And we are still committed to our plans of changing the face of Mdantsane, starting with the road network, which is the belly of this historic township. We can assure our residents that we will make up for lost time and complete this project.

“The people of Buffalo City and this area in particular deserve nothing but the best quality service,” said Ngwenya.

“When we said we will turn the city into a construction site, a huge part of that involves an oversight process that ensures that what we deliver is of high standards and that those that get a mandate from us to deliver service do so in a manner that values our people.”

Ngwenya said the contract was terminated on the basis of Diphatse’s poor performance on site, including neglected health and safety issues.

“In the course of the contract, the contractor removed surfacing, 100m of stormwater pipeline and layer works, did box cutting of the section of road and maintained bypass routes. They were paid more than R6-million for the work they did,” he said.

Ngwenya said the tender process was now at the evaluation stage.

“Some of the same workers will join the new contractor, as local labourers are used on all projects within BCM, based on the volumes of workers required by the contractor.

“The tender process is expected to be complete by July, and work will proceed immediately thereafter with the appointed contractor,” he said. — mbalit@dispatch.co.za

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