Pretoria - The construction dust is about to settle at Tshwane House, the R2 billion new headquarters of the city administration located in the heart of the nation’s capital.

The city, based on current work on site, said it believed construction was a month behind schedule. But the contractor did not share this view, insisting the state-of-the art building would be completed at the end the month.

However, an independent certifier shared the view of the city that the work was a month behind schedule and would be completed at the end of January.

And unlike the former ANC regime which wanted then executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa to set up his base at the City Hall, incumbent first citizen Solly Msimanga, of the DA ,will move to the new building when it is ready for occupation early in the new year.

Msimanga is currently based at the city’s Centurion offices he inherited from Ramokgopa, who commissioned the controversial renovations of the City Hall, which was allegedly riddled with corruption.

The design of the new building includes fully-fledged offices for the executive mayor and MMCs, and VIP facilities for guests, mayoral spokesman Samkelo Mgobozi said.

Regarding the amount of work still to be completed, he said: “There is a commissioning and testing under way while work still needs to be done internally and externally as well as large volumes of finishing work.”

A section of Johannes Ramokhoase Street - closed as a result of the construction - would remain inaccessible by motorists for now, Mgobozi said.

“There was a way-leave application granted to the contractors for the closure of Johannes Ramokhoase Street, supposed to expire on November 16. However, the contractors applied for an extension because the main electrical artery was damaged.

“The construction sub-contractor damaged an oil filled cable while doing excavation in the street and created an emergency that required repair work.”

Tshwane House is located on the site of its predecessor Munitoria and will be home to 1 590 people employed in the administrative and political divisions of the metro.

They have been scattered all over the city since part of Munitoria was destroyed by fire in 1997. The building was eventually demolished in July 2013.

Isivuno House across the road from the site has been serving the role of administrative headquarters.

Ramokgopa signed the public-private-partnership (PPP) contract with executives of Tsela Tshweu Consortium to mark the official launch of Tshwane House in April 2015.

At the time, Tshwane House was presented as being about redefining an important apartheid space that was Munitoria, the municipal headquarters for 44 years, most of that time housing the apartheid regime.

The PPP entails the provision of a fully serviced head office for 25 years to the staff of the city administration, excluding a construction period of 24 months.

The work involved the demolition of Munitoria, and a complete new design, construction and financing.The Grade A office accommodation will include up to 1 300 parking bays, working conditions conducive to interaction with the public, and a 250 - enabled for 350 - seater stand-alone council chamber, with associated meeting rooms and communications booths.

There will be optimum space for executives and staff and a restaurant, canteen and health care facilities, as well as archive, storage and printing sections.

The contract includes operations, maintenance and life cycle replacement of the building. It will become a property of the city at the expiry of the PPP deal. It has been designed to achieve a Green Star 5 rating.

HOW THE TIMELINE UNFOLDED

* Registration of a PPP Project with National Treasury: November 2004

* Transaction adviser appointed: June 2005

* Project feasibility study: December 2005

* National Treasury’s views and recommendation: January 2006

* Invitation letters; three pre-qualified bidders: September 2008

* Appointment of private partner and reserve bidder: April 2011

* Public participation: March to May 2014

* Approval by special council: December 2014

* Financial-close: March 2015

* Signing of contract: April 2015

* Completion: December 2016

* Occupation: 2017

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