The police barracks, formerly known as the army base are currently undergoing renovations worth more than R18 million to provide security for the South African Police Services (SAPS) officials and residents of the area.
The project includes the installation of a high security fence around all the buildings and is being conducted by the national Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI).
The DPWI’s Thami Mchunu said the fence would be constructed to prevent incidents of vandalism by intruders which were affecting the buildings and infrastructure.
On March 22 The Rep reported, “Family in shock after tragic find at military base” when a group of children playing in one of the vandalised buildings at the army base had found the lifeless body of a 30-year-old male on a Sunday afternoon.
The project did not include, however, the restoration of the deteriorated old piping, which was one of the chief problems leading to regular water leaks and pipe bursts.
Mchunu said about 45% of the work had been done and the project was expected to be completed in January next year.
He said the main contractor of the project was Bapedi and Associates from Gauteng, although Mchunu did not mention who the local subcontractors were. He said Bapedi and Associates was using local labour throughout the construction stages of the project.
Chris Hani Contractors Forum spokesperson Siyabulela Bungani said he was disappointed at the department of public works for not informing the local contractors of a project of such a high calibre.
We are placing the blame on public works for withholding such information from small business. We will consult the department to account for the 30% policy of projects which should be awarded to local contractors. We will take action against them. We will demand that they comply with the policy.
Bungani said Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) and Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM), local economic development portfolios were usually informed of such projects.
Whenever there was a big project, whether from local or national level, CHDM and EMLM had a responsibility to share the information because they had the database of local contractors to recommend to the company running the project.
EMLM acting spokesperson, Gcobani Msindwana, said the department of public works did not inform the municipality either, or they would have informed local contractors about the project.