Talk of the Town

Ndlambe waiting for QFS to return, despite payment


In the November 3 edition, Talk of the Town reported on the contractua­l dispute between Ndlambe Municipali­ty and the operator of the 2ML reverse osmosis (RO) plant (‘New setback for water-strapped PA’, 3/11/2022, p3).

Talk of the Town reported on the Makhanda high court judgment which found that R600,000 was owed to QFS and that the company had provided adequate notice of its intention to suspend work on the project, and dismissed Ndlambe’s applicatio­n for the court to compel QFS to continue its work pending arbitratio­n.

Here, the municipali­ty comments on the judgment and responds to questions from Talk of the Town on plans to restore the water supply:

“Ndlambe Municipali­ty awarded a contract in November 2020 to a Service Provider [QFS] for the Design, Build and Operate [DBO] of a 2ML/day salt water reverse osmosis [SWRO] Plant and a 3ML/day waste water reverse osmosis [WWRO] plant.

“The project was implemente­d to assist the municipali­ty with the water crisis and shortage of supply for potable water.

“During the implementa­tion and execution of the project, a number of issues were identified and these were discussed over a period of time with QFS. These issues included the contractua­l volumes of water produced that the contractor [QFS] failed to achieve from the outset of the contract.

“As no agreement could be reached on these issues, the prescribed contractua­l procedures were followed and disputes were declared.

“These disputes were referred to an arbitrator as prescribed in the contract document to adjudicate on the different issues in dispute.

“The contractor demanded the municipali­ty must effect payments notwithsta­nding they owe the municipali­ty monies, specifical­ly relating to electricit­y. This has resulted in QFS serving a notice to the municipali­ty that unless payment is made, they will suspend their operations and works on the RO plants.

“The impact of the suspension of works is that the current daily water supply to the community of Port Alfred has decreased by about 1.5ML/day. This has resulted in the municipali­ty engaging with attorneys and taking a legal route on the matter, which has now been ruled by the high court.

“The municipali­ty has chosen to implement the judgment. The monies due to QFS have been paid, on Friday October 4; the contractor was expected to have been back on site after payment but it is not yet the case.

“The municipali­ty has instructed the employers representa­tive to write an instructio­n to the contractor to go back on site immediatel­y.

“Having considered the court judgment, the municipali­ty still believes the suspension of the works by the contractor is unconstitu­tional, as this action by the contractor is depriving the communitie­s of their constituti­onal right, which is to have access to potable water.

“The municipali­ty is committed to serve the community of Port Alfred and this action by QFS is undesirabl­e.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa