End in sight for wa­ter pipe project

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO NEWS - Or­rin Singh

THE R40-mil­lion Em­pan­geni CBD wa­ter pipe up­grade project is ex­pected to be com­pleted at the end of next month.

This de­spite a host of de­lays and in­ter­rup­tions.

The project to re­place the ag­ing wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture sys­tem com­menced in May last year and en­tailed re­plac­ing the old as­bestos pipes with thicker plas­tic pipes on the main line from Em­pan­geni to Ng­welezana.

Ac­cord­ing to uMh­lathuze Mu­nic­i­pal­ity spokesper­son, Mdu Ncalane, the city is com­mit­ted to com­plet­ing the wa­ter pipe re­place­ment project by the end of June.

‘The city un­der­stands the frus­tra­tions of res­i­dents and the busi­ness sec­tor in the Em­pan­geni CBD.

‘The project has ex­pe­ri­enced many frus­tra­tions and de­lays, in­clud­ing go slows from con­trac­tor em­ploy­ees.

‘This has since been re­solved ow­ing to the in­ter­ven­tion of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. On­go­ing progress mon­i­tor­ing and weekly meet­ings be­tween the city and the con­trac­tors are bear­ing fruit,’ said Ncalane.

Mean­while, Em­pan­geni Di­vi­sion Chair­man of the Zu­l­u­land Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (ZCCI), Mike Pat­ter­son, said the loss of rev­enue to the busi­ness sec­tor in the Em­pan­geni CBD can­not be quan­ti­fied.

‘This project was long over­due and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity should have iden­ti­fied the project as one that would re­quire some prior experience and ex­per­tise in work­ing within a busy com­mer­cial area.

‘I have ob­served sim­i­lar ex­ca­va­tions and trench­ing in the past where the traf­fic flow and daily busi­ness of the ten­ants was taken into ac­count and a min­i­mum amount of dis­rup­tion, for a lim­ited time, was en­forced and mon­i­tored by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

‘This con­tract has been a very slow process with no due con­cern for the road users, pedes­tri­ans and the shops along the way.

‘Busi­ness has lost turnover as those who had a choice, un­like the many thou­sands of taxi and bus com­muters who sup­port our busi­ness sec­tor on a daily ba­sis, just took their busi­ness else­where,’ said Pat­ter­son.

‘We trust that the ac­tual pipe lay­ing has been reg­u­larly checked and passed by qual­i­fied en­gi­neers and that there will be no need to dig up our pave­ments again at a later stage.

‘Busi­ness to­day is not for the faint­hearted but this fi­asco has cer­tainly been a great chal­lenge to even the tough­est trader.

‘These busi­nesses are ratepayers who de­serve to be treated as such and al­though this project may have long-term ben­e­fits, the im­me­di­ate losses have had a se­vere im­pact on their sus­tain­abil­ity,’ said Pat­ter­son.

It is not clear whether the tor­ren­tial down­pours this week will fur­ther delay the wa­ter pipe re­place­ment project as deep trenches in Pearce Cres­cent lled up with rain wa­ter

Or­rin Singh

Em­pan­geni’s CBD is a mess with many ex­ca­vated ar­eas cor­doned off

City of uMh­lathuze of cial Do­minic Mkhwanazi in­spect­ing the dam­aged pipe Muzi Zin­c­ume

The cor­ner at Com­mer­cial Road and Turn­bull Street

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