Solv­ing Ash­ton-Mon­tagu con­struc­tion stand­still

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS - PA­TRICK HEN­DER­SON, VIA E-MAIL

I RE­FER TO Roy Cokayne’s ar­ti­cle in Busi­ness Re­port 1 June 1, 2017, headed “Basil Read CEO quits af­ter earn­ings plunge”, and wish to com­ment as fol­lows.

I am a res­i­dent in Long Street, Mon­tagu, on the R62 road through the town, and like all other local busi­ness own­ers and res­i­dents along this his­toric route have ob­served with con­cern the de­lays in the pro­gres­sion of this ma­jor project over the last year.

I need also to add my opin­ion that Basil Read has been go­ing through much ab­nor­mal fi­nan­cial stress in re­cent years.

This ap­par­ently re­quires re-cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion to con­tinue in their busi­ness – as man­i­fest by the re­port that the com­pany “has been in dis­cus­sions since July last year about the po­ten­tial pri­vate place­ment that is said would re­sult in the com­pany be­com­ing a black owned com­pany”.

The pur­pose of my let­ter is to draw at­ten­tion to my firm belief that the Ash­ton/ Mon­tagu com­mu­ni­ties of farm­ers, busi­nesses and res­i­dents need to start now to ini­ti­ate a process to avoid what oth­er­wise looks like a pro­tracted per­for­mance to reach the com­ple­tion of:

(a) The con­struc­tion of the three large bridges that are re­quired for the project, and

(b) The fi­nal con­struc­tion and sur­fac­ing of the road works from Ash­ton through to Cog­mans Kloof and Long Street in Mon­tagu.

What I be­lieve would be help­ful is that if a new con­sor­tium, which doubt­less needs to in­clude Basil Read, should com­bine with an­other rep­utable civil engi­neer­ing firm whose ca­pa­bil­i­ties per­haps go be­yond just road con­struc­tion.

This com­bi­na­tion could then take over and com­plete all as­pects of this com­plex con­tract/project.

To con­clude, be­cause this con­tract is a gov­ern­ment re­spon­si­bil­ity, the ini­tia­tive of such a process for in­ter­ven­tion and change needs to be in the hands of the ap­pro­pri­ate Western Cape Gov­ern­ment De­part­ment, be­ing The De­part­ment of Trans­port and Public Works led by Min­is­ter Don­ald Grant.

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