The upgrade project in Philippi is nearing completion but has been marred by several deaths. In November last year, two security guards were shot dead. In April this year, a construction worker was shot dead and in May, eight community members were also killed. During the first phase of the project, six of the eight members of the Sweet Homes Project Steering Committee were murdered.
Wayne Le Roux, acting executive director for safety and security, said: “Decisions about staff deployment are made meticulously and with a view to the broader context of what is required. In the Sweet Homes case, you would agree that, relatively speaking, that was the greatest service need given the level of violence and crime in that area.
“Remember that the city’s law enforcement agencies are guided by and support the function of the SAPS.”
Le Roux said the cost of having law enforcement officers on construction sites varied depending on the project, circumstances and the number of officers required.
“Not all projects require security - it would mostly be of an extreme nature. We do have figures and it is as per the city’s budget; however, this information is not available in the way that it has been requested within the time frame of the enquiry,” he said
Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said: “Generally, there is a limited security component for security within the contract to protect contractors’ plant, equipment and site offices. But to cater for extreme crime situations linked to a project, an approved special operating budget is required. The nature of the project, the circumstances and what the best would be for the city overall in terms of costing, delivery and capacity is always considered.”
Booi said a range of security measures were in place to protect construction sites, among them fences, walls, patrols, security guards, community engagement.
“As a city, we often get criticised for project delays or community programmes that are not going according to plan. There are many projects across the metro that are plagued by vandalism, theft, violence and criminality, gangsterism and community unrest and interference, but we don’t abandon them,” he said.@MarvinCharles17