FRUSTRATED and irate residents, who are affected by the incomplete construction along Wyebank Road, met with the Highway Mail to address their multiple safety concerns.
The Western Aqueduct Project was awarded to Esor Construction, by the eThekwini Municipality, in 2014.
The project was programmed to take three years to complete and its original completion date was 28 April 2017.
It has been more than a year since the expected completion date and residents are demanding answers and for action to be taken.
Residents speak out:
Venessa Pillay (Rosedale Road)
They need to complete this project and they need to ensure the safety of the residents in the road. Aside from the condition and the unsightly mess, I am so fed up.
Pat Pather (Wyebank Road)
Turning from Sea View Road onto Wyebank Road is so difficult and one day there is going to be a serious accident. When it rains the potholes are ridiculous.
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The road closure of the one section of Wyebank Road has been going on for more than five months and the contract has been ongoing for more than four years. Dust and dirt is a continuous issue. Pipes have been dug up and they’re still leaking and haven’t been repaired.
The biggest danger here is for the pedestrians as they have no choice but to walk on the road. People swear, shout and hoot at them but they are fully exposed and must walk across the rubble.
Gail Koekemoer (Sea View Road)
It is so unsafe. If there is a crash on the freeway this road is backlogged with traffic. It can be virtually impossible for us to leave and, when there isn’t traffic, everyone is speeding. They have left this looking as it is – a mess!
Esor Construction’s CEO, Wessel van Zyl, explains:
The Project has suffered many delays for various reasons such as business forum stoppages, taxi association stoppages, work force strikes, existing services needing to be relocated, inclement weather etc.
As a result of these delays, the project period was extended and the current completion date is February 2019.
Over the past 10 months, Esor has been grappling with extreme cash flow problems which, on 13 August 2018, culminated in Esor Construction entering into business rescue. As a result of this liquidity crisis, the project has been further delayed.
Through the business rescue process, Esor has engaged with the guarantors of the project to unlock post commencement funding which will see improved productions on site and pull back the anticipated completion date.
This plan of action is expected to be implemented in the next two weeks and will see a large roads contractor engaged for the completion of the roadworks.
eThekwini Municipality’s deputy head of communications, Mandla Nsele, responds:
eThekwini Municipality awarded four contracts to Esor through normal supply chain management procurement process.
Esor has delayed the contracts for over two years as they could not adhere to any of the construction programmes set by themselves and, as a result of quality control issues and Esor’s own stressed financial situation, sub-contractors withdrew from site as they were not paid and there was a shortage of construction materials.
This has impacted negatively on the western and northern aqueducts. Several communities in the north and Pinetown south areas have been waiting for the completion of the projects to improve the water supply in their areas.
Now this will be delayed.As per General Condition of Contract, the municipality holds five to 10 per cent (depending on contract value) in cash in lieu of retention, with five per cent released to the contractor once they have completed construction.
The remaining five percent is released at the end of the one year defects liability period.
Esor tendered and was awarded four aqueduct contracts under these retention conditions of the contract.
The municipality is fully compliant with the payment terms and legislation as per the Municipal Finance Management Act.
We have had various meetings and discussions with Esor in a bid to help complete this project, however, municipal officials are bound to work within the policies.
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