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GOOD party blames 'corporate politics' for delays in Woodlands housing project

The development, which began in September 2019, consists of various phases. Picture: Supplied

The development, which began in September 2019, consists of various phases. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 24, 2022

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Cape Town - GOOD party MPL Shaun August has blamed “corporate politics” for the delay in the completion date of the R299 million housing development at farm 694 New Woodlands, Mitchells Plain, which was meant to provide 434 BNG houses.

August was reacting to a written response to questions he had asked Infrastructure MEC Tertuis Simmers about the delays.

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The development, which began in September 2019, consists of various phases and has combined Human Settlement Development Grant (HSDG) and Urban Settlement Development Grant (USDG) funding of R299 million.

Simmers replied that the project, which should have been completed in May, had been delayed until October this year for a number of reasons, including subcontractor disputes with the main contractor, PowerSmart Joint Venture (PSJV).

He said other factors to blame for the delay were issues with the approvals of the designs and plans, maintenance at Mitchells Plain Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Simmers said that all subcontractors appointed for the construction of the houses by PSJV, were appointed on rates agreed to beforehand.

“The rates are not an hourly rate, but rates relating to building industry norms and productions which is per brick or per square metre of plaster,” he said.

Simmers said 38 people from the local labour market had been employed on the development and that a further 43 were receiving job skills training in trades such as painting, security, bricklaying and plastering.

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August said: “Currently there is a delay on this construction site as the main contractor is dragging subcontractors to court due to them having participated in a protest action against the main contractor.”

He said the only subcontractors on site were those that were brought in by PSJV and that as much as the department could not intervene in labour affairs between employer and employee, or in matters before the court, they were not doing enough to ease increasing tensions between all stakeholders involved.

August said the subcontractors felt that their grievances were not being heard and they had taken a stand against the influx of external subcontractors on the development.

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“The department needs to get off its high horse and start familiarising itself with the challenges small construction enterprises face, when they are sidelined by established corporations,” he said.

He said the response from Simmers was “a clear indication of the Western Cape government’s inability to keep checks and balances on development projects funded by the public purse.”

August said the province could ill afford not having the units built within the approved budget and timeline.

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In March Simmers had said that the first 110 qualifying beneficiaries of the development would move into their brand-new homes in approximately two months and that the balance of 324 homes would be handed over during the course of the 2022/23 financial year.

[email protected]

Cape Argus

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