Concern over ‘unsafe building’
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