Mu­nic­i­pal­ity to ac­count for high cost of bridge

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Gcina Nt­saluba

Ou­trage on so­cial me­dia has forced the Matatiele lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity in the East­ern Cape to call a press brief­ing to ac­count for the R3.7 mil­lion con­struc­tion cost of a 24-me­tre long bridge.

The bridge, which con­nects the com­mu­ni­ties of Mye­ma­neni and Nom­gavu vil­lages, was funded through the Mu­nic­i­pal In­fra­struc­ture Grant and tax­pay­ers have de­manded an­swers from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

So­cial me­dia user A Lutfi Bin Kumsha posted: “Ut­ter non­sense to say the least! This is a trav­esty, a spit on the face of tax pay­ers and most im­por­tantly on the faces of your peo­ple! Red flags all over, col­lu­sion and in­flated prices all over the project!”

Mole­bo­heng MyDali Le­beko wrote on the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s Face­book wall: “I’ve spo­ken to a num­ber of peo­ple who are in the con­struc­tion busi­ness, en­gi­neers and quan­tity sur­vey­ors who are re­fut­ing the cost of this cul­vert bridge with no pedes­trian path. Y’all are play­ing us strue.”

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity has acted swiftly and said that fol­low­ing the pub­lic out­cry about the cost of the bridge, it would hold a me­dia brief­ing to­day where it would pro­vide a cost break­down of the project which, it said, in­volved the prepa­ra­tion of earth­works for con­crete col­umns be­fore the ac­tual con­struc­tion.

Mu­nic­i­pal spokesper­son Ol­wetu Gwanya said the con­trac­tor, Amacwele Trad­ing, was awarded the ten­der af­ter the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had ap­pointed an en­gi­neer to pre­pare cost es­ti­mates and con­struc­tion de­signs.

These were pre­sented to the co­op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs (Cogta) depart­ment for fund­ing.

“Upon ap­proval, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity put out an open ten­der for bid­ding. Through that process, the low­est bid­der was awarded the con­tract,” Gwanya said.

The em­bat­tled mu­nic­i­pal­ity, which was pre­vi­ously on the Cogta’s watch list for poorly per­form­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, is­sued a state­ment last month to an­nounce the coun­cil had taken the de­ci­sion to ask for ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tance from Cogta to help run the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Vhut­shilo Mag­wala, who is an ar­chi­tect and en­gi­neer, said a sim­ple rough es­ti­ma­tion of the con­crete vol­umes and re­in­force­ment quan­ti­ties would not even add up to more than R500 000 for the bridge.

TROU­BLED WA­TERS: The bridge that has raised the ire of tax­pay­ers in Matatiele lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

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