R3m pothole job concerns MEC

ROAD ASSESSMENT: Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, left, with Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality mayor Luleka Gubula during an inspection of pothole repairs at Fikile Gwadana Drive in Ezibeleni on Tuesday Picture: ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA

If not satisfied, department will withdraw finance

Transport MEC Weziwe Gxothiwe-Tikana was unimpressed with the quality of pothole repairs done so far on Fikile Gwadana Drive in Ezibeleni on Tuesday.

Gxothiwe-Tikana was on an oversight visit to assess the progress made thus far with the  R3m  project.

The pothole repairs, which began in October, were also behind deadlined schedule for completion on January 3, another cause for concern for the MEC.

Gxothiwe-Tikana said Fikile Gwadana Drive was a critical road, which was why she had prioritised the visit.

“Repairs to this road were requested by Ezibeleni people for a long time and premier Oscar Mabuyane applied pressure for it to be repaired.

“When the transport department transferred funds to Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality [EMLM] we expected it to be done speedily.

“We were not dumping money because we had plenty of it, we expected quality work to be delivered and nothing less,” Tikana-Gxothiwe said.

The MEC added that she was also conducting similar oversight in other municipalities. She said the other road project in EMLM was in Hofmeyr.

“This is because the department wants to partner with municipalities.

“However, if we are not satisfied with the work, we will withdraw. What makes matters worse is that this is not a provincial road, but we were supporting EMLM.”

She said she planned to set up a meeting with the engineers, main contractor and project managers to discuss the work done thus far, before she could issue an official report about the quality of the repairs.

“The meeting is for [the parties] involved to give their input. I cannot conclude anything now. I am not certain about the bill of quantity which was here and the type of work they were assigned to do.”

Gxothiwe-Tikana said the transport department had a service level agreement with EMLM concerning the Fikile Gwadana pothole repair project.  “We came to check if work was being done according to the agreement and if it met the standard required.”

According to the MEC, the department was conducting assessments of all regional projects in the province.

Her recent inspection was on the 6km stretch on the DR08563 road between Indwe and Machubeni in Emalahleni, on Friday.

EMLM mayor Luleka Gubula said: “When we launched the project the main contractor said it would be complete on January 6.

“The project was supposed to take three months to complete, but we did not anticipate the heavy rains which disrupted the process and caused delays.“

Another interruption which Gubula said had contributed to the delay was that the asphalt service provider had closed business when the main contractor returned to operate.

“The service provider committed last week that the working processes would conclude in March.

“We then resolved that the road would be officially handed over in April which will give them enough time to complete everything,” Gubula said.

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