IDT faces potential litigation from its service providers
DURBAN - The Independent Development Trust (IDT) has warned that it faced a rising potential for litigation from its service providers during the nationwide lockdown which subsequently saw its client departments having to reprioritise and redirect their infrastructure budgets to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on their operations.
IDT spokesperson Phasha Makgolane said the lockdowns imposed to contain the spread of the pandemic brought the construction industry to a near standstill with immediate work stoppages, delayed payment to contractors and loss of income.
Makgolane said the IDT was not able process the invoices that came in days before the commencement of the lockdown as it was not classified an essential service.
“Payments could not be made during this period,” Makgolane said.
“You may also find that before the lockdown, a contractor was appointed to render a service but due to the reprioritisation made by our client departments, some projects were cancelled, therefore our service providers could sue us for the services rendered.”
Makgolane said the stoppages had exposed the trust to possible litigations. He said the IDT only managed to process invoices and pay at the easing of the lockdown regulations.
The IDT is responsible for implementing social infrastructure which includes the educational, health, correctional and justice facilities for the government.
The trust said that it would continue to engage with its service providers regarding.
Makgolane said that the pandemic had a devastating impact on the construction industry which could lead to formal job losses of between 120 000 and140 000.
Databuild chief executive Morag Evans said: “When the construction sector was allowed to resume work, some businesses, especially the small ones could not start working due to nonpayments and everything being all over the place. Some had not been able to return to their actual work even a month later".
Databuild is a knowledge hub for the construction and related industries boasting an online database of contacts, projects and tender opportunities available in South Africa and the other African countries.
Makgolane said that the overall contribution the IDT brought to the country was the “Infrastructure-led economic growth” which was the national goal set for the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.
“The IDT as a programme management implementing agency, will play a catalyst role in the creation of job opportunities and injection in the local economy through procuring materials locally. The organisation is also playing a major role in the implementation of Public Employment Programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP)” said Makgolane.