Con­trac­tor ‘lacks ex­per­ti­se’

George Herald - - NEWS - Mi­chel­le Pie­naar

W­hi­le the Nel­son Man­de­la Bou­le­vard up­gra­de de­lays are being bla­med on the rain, a dam­ning report by con­sulting en­gi­neers S­mec sta­tes that the con­trac­tor does not ha­ve the ne­ces­sa­ry re­sour­ces, kno­w­led­ge and ca­pa­bi­li­ty to com­ple­te the pro­ject by the 30 Ju­ne de­ad­li­ne.

In spi­te of the report, Mxo­li­si Ny­a­ka­ti of the DA main­tains that the rain is the on­ly c­hal­len­ge at the con­structi­on si­te in T­hem­ba­let­hu. But, FF Plus Coun­cil­lor Gert van Nie­kerk be­lie­ves the "can of worms" is just get­ting big­ger and big­ger. Du­ring the coun­cil meet­ing on Wed­nes­day 28 March, Van Nie­kerk said his par­ty is highly scep­ti­cal of this "con­tro­ver­si­al pro­ject" and has laid a char­ge at the of­fi­ce of the pu­blic pro­tec­tor. He said chan­ging the ro­ad spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­ons is il­le­gal as the ten­der was gran­ted for a four-la­ne ro­ad, not just for up­gra­des of the cur­rent two-la­ne ro­ad.

ACDP Coun­cil­lor Jo­han du Toit said his par­ty's i­ni­ti­al gut fee­ling a­bout the con­tract is star­ting to re­sur­fa­ce. He said the report paints a rat­her dark pic­tu­re. Lack of ex­per­ti­se

The e­va­lu­a­ti­on report of the acce­le­ra­ti­on pro­po­sal com­pi­led by S­mec, sta­tes that the con­trac­tor, Mu­ra­vah Buil­ding &

Ci­vils, is mo­re than a month be­hind the ap­pro­ved pro­gram­me and has been for­mal­ly in­structed on two oc­ca­si­ons to speed t­hings up. "On e­ach oc­ca­si­on Mu­ra­vah has not ta­ken the ne­ces­sa­ry steps to acce­le­ra­te pro­gress and has not sup­ple­men­ted their re­sour­ces," re­ads the report. "The con­trac­tor's se­ni­or staff are wil­ling to per­form the re­quest for acce­le­ra­ti­on, but ha­ve in­suf­fi­cient kno­w­led­ge and ex­per­ti­se to ma­tch the re­sour­ces to the pro­gram­me. The con­trac­tor has re­que­sted an ad­van­ce pay­ment and re­que­sted a ces­si­on agreement from the em­ploy­er, which in­di­ca­tes that t­hey al­so do not ha­ve suf­fi­cient fi­nan­ci­al re­sour­ces to in­cre­a­se the pro­ducti­on in ac­cor­dan­ce with the acce­le­ra­ted pro­gram­me. It is the em­ploy­er's a­gent's o­pi­ni­on that the con­trac­tor does not ha­ve the ne­ces­sa­ry re­sour­ces, kno­w­led­ge and ca­pa­bi­li­ty to com­ple­te the pro­ject by the end of Ju­ne 2018. This is ba­sed on the slow pro­gress to da­te, lack of ex­per­ti­se and in­a­de­qua­te cash flow to ti­me­ous­ly pro­cu­re ma­te­ri­als in ac­cor­dan­ce with the works pro­gram­me."Ac­cor­ding to S­mec's report the­re is a sig­ni­fi­cant risk that Mu­ra­vah will not a­chie­ve the mi­les­to­nes and cash flow fo­re­cast and this may re­sult in an e­ar­ly ter­mi­na­ti­on of the con­tract due to poor per­for­man­ce. One y­e­ar e­ar­lier

Du Toit said alt­hough one op­ti­on in the report was gi­ven to roll the funds o­ver to the next fi­nan­ci­al y­e­ar, na­ti­o­nal tre­a­su­ry al­re­a­dy in­di­ca­ted, af­ter the pre­vi­ous rol­lo­ver, that it wouldn't be re­pe­a­ted. The mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty thus stands the chan­ce to lo­se the re­mai­ning fun­ding.

This ten­der cau­sed dra­ma in the Ci­vils De­part­ment a y­e­ar ago, w­hen for­mer di­rec­tor Ha­rold Bas­son and his de­pu­ty, Lind­say Mooi­man, we­re both pla­ced on spe­ci­al le­a­ve fol­lo­wing a re­quest for dis­ci­pli­na­ry acti­on a­gainst them by Ge­or­ge Ma­yor Mel­vin Naik. Naik accu­sed Bas­son of un­der­mi­ning the ma­yo­ral com­mit­tee and Coun­cil in re­spect of the Nel­son Man­de­la Bou­le­vard up­gra­de. The un­hap­pi­ness re­la­ted to the ten­der ad­ver­ti­se­ment that was ap­pro­ved by Bas­son. The ad­ver­ti­se­ment was re­trac­ted by the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty, to en­s­u­re that the black em­po­wer­ment re­qui­re­ments could be ad­jus­ted in terms of the new P­re­fe­ren­ti­al Pro­cu­re­ment Po­li­cy Fra­me­work Act - the tri­ple-PFA law - that ca­me in ef­fect on 1 A­pril, two days af­ter the ad­ver­ti­se­ment ap­pea­red. The wor­ding and the BEE re­qui­re­ments see­med to be the main bo­ne of con­ten­ti­on, with Naik saying the two se­ni­or of­fi­ci­als we­re trying to ob­struct his em­po­wer­ment go­als.

Ti­me run­ning out

Ac­cor­ding to the coun­cil a­gen­da, as the va­lue of the ten­der ex­ceeds R50-mil­li­on, a com­pa­ny with an ex­per­ti­se le­vel of at le­ast a CIDB le­vel 8 Ci­vil En­gi­neer­ing (CE) gra­ding must be a­war­ded the ten­der. But, the­re may not be a se­cond chan­ce, as a on­ce-off rol­lo­ver was ap­pro­ved by na­ti­o­nal tre­a­su­ry, me­a­ning that the full grant a­mount had to be spent by 30 Ju­ne.

Mu­ra­vha was ap­poin­ted on 26 A­pril 2017, but could on­ly start work in Sep­tem­ber last y­e­ar, sin­ce t­hey had to ap­ply for a con­structi­on per­mit which was on­ly is­su­ed on 31 Au­gust. In a pre­vi­ous report to Coun­cil, it was sta­ted that this com­pa­ny from M­bom­be­la (pre­vi­ous­ly Nel­spruit) was the on­ly pos­si­ble choi­ce due to the a­mend­ments to the PPPFA (P­re­fe­ren­ti­al Pro­cu­re­ment Po­li­cy Fra­me­work Act). Ny­a­ka­ti pro­po­sed that an information ses­si­on for the full coun­cil be ar­ran­ged as a mat­ter of ur­gen­cy, w­he­re coun­cil­lors can ex­press them­sel­ves on the mat­ter and gi­ve feed­back to the com­mu­ni­ty. Ny­a­ka­ti said af­ter a si­te vi­sit two weeks ago, the con­trac­tor as well as the he­alth and sa­fe­ty of­fi­cer con­fir­med that the pro­gram­me is on track. "The­re are three dif­fe­rent te­ams wor­king on the acce­le­ra­ted pro­gram­me to ma­ke su­re the pro­ject is fi­nis­hed by the end of Ju­ne," he said.

P­ho­to: K­ris­ty Kol­berg

Con­structi­on work e­ar­ly in Fe­bru­a­ry at the Nel­son Man­de­la Bou­le­vard in T­hem­ba­let­hu. Con­tra­ry to the o­ri­gi­nal con­tract that sti­pu­la­ted that the ro­ad must be up­gra­ded to four la­nes, the two-la­ne ro­ad will now re­main two la­nes.

DA Coun­cil­lor Mxo­li­si Ny­a­ka­ti said a si­te vi­sit two weeks ago con­fir­med that the pro­gram­me is on track.

FF Plus Coun­cil­lor Gert van Nie­kerk said he has laid a char­ge at the of­fi­ce of the pu­blic pro­tec­tor.

Pho­tos: Mi­chel­le Pie­naar

ACDP Coun­cil­lor Jo­han du Toit said if he looks at the report from S­mec, it paints a rat­her dark pic­tu­re.

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