Con­cern over ‘un­safe build­ing’

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS -

WHILE all leg­is­la­ture staff will be back at the North­ern Cape Leg­is­la­ture precinct this year fol­low­ing two years of re­pairs and refurbishments, con­cern re­gard­ing the safety of the build­ing has been raised.

The R37 mil­lion struc­tural de­fects project was com­mis­sioned to fix var­i­ous struc­tural, elec­tri­cal, plumb­ing and other prob­lems, although com­ple­tion was dogged by un­end­ing de­lays.

The en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tants in June is­sued a sec­ond no­tice of de­fault to Prom­i­nent Emzansi Projects re­gard­ing slow progress, lack of per­for­mance and in­abil­ity to com­plete the project.

The project was ini­tially sup­posed to be com­pleted within 12 months.

A R28 mil­lion ten­der was al­lo­cated to Prom­i­nent Emzanzi while an ad­di­tional R9 mil­lion was al­lo­cated for the com­ple­tion of the project from the 2018/19 North­ern Cape Pro­vin­cial Leg­is­la­ture bud­get from rolled over funds from the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year.

The De­part­ment of Labour is­sued a pro­hi­bi­tion no­tice in 2016 on the North­ern Cape Pro­vin­cial Leg­is­la­ture due to the un­ex­plained flood­ing of the base­ment, elec­tri­cal haz­ards, plumb­ing, col­laps­ing roofs and leak­ing prob­lems.

Cope mem­ber of the pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture, Pakes Dikgetsi, in­di­cated that the lifts as well as the toi­lets in the mem­bers’ wing, were still out of or­der.

“Once I re­turn to work, I will have to walk around the build­ing if I need to make use of the bath­room.”

He be­lieved that the money spent on the project could have been used to build an en­tirely new build­ing.

“The money has been spent on shoddy work­man­ship be­cause the build­ing is not hab­it­able. Some of the tiling is in­com­plete while the win­dows were not prop­erly fit­ted.

“It will only be a mat­ter of time be­fore the leg­is­la­ture col­lapses and we will have to be re­lo­cated again.

“We were not shown a cer­tifi­cate of com­ple­tion, cer­tifi­cate of com­pli­ance for the elec­tri­cal work or cer­tifi­cate of oc­cu­pa­tion. An in­de­pen­dent in­spec­tion should have been con­ducted be­fore we were hur­riedly re­lo­cated be­fore Christ­mas. The work done ap­pears to be cos­metic to ob­scure the cracks in the walls while the area in front of the build­ing was never com­pleted.”

He added that the party’s fur­ni­ture had been dam­aged dur­ing the re­lo­ca­tion process.

“We do not know if the con­trac­tor was charged penal­ties for the de­lay in com­ple­tion and for the pe­riod that they were off-site be­cause of cash flow prob­lems. The leg­is­la­ture is ex­pected to hold de­part­ments ac­count­able and yet it is the epit­ome of poor man­age­ment.”

He pointed out that the to­tal rentals paid for the lease of the BP Jones and post of­fice build­ings re­mained a “se­cret”.

Spokesper­son for the De­part­ment of Labour, Ke­balepile Khula, in­di­cated that he would only be able to con­firm if a cer­tifi­cate of oc­cu­pa­tion was is­sued once their of­fices opened. - Sandi Kwon Hoo

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