Construction has come to a halt on the Hammarsdale bridge on the N3. PICTURE: NQOBILE MBONAMBI
Construction has come to a halt on the Hammarsdale bridge on the N3. PICTURE: NQOBILE MBONAMBI
Construction has come to a halt on the Hammarsdale bridge on the N3. PICTURE: NQOBILE MBONAMBI
Construction has come to a halt on the Hammarsdale bridge on the N3. PICTURE: NQOBILE MBONAMBI
Construction has come to a halt on the Hammarsdale bridge on the N3. PICTURE: NQOBILE MBONAMBI
Construction has come to a halt on the Hammarsdale bridge on the N3. PICTURE: NQOBILE MBONAMBI
Durban - The Delangokubona Business Forum has struck again, this time bringing construction at the Hammarsdale Interchange to a grinding halt for the past two months. The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has appealed to the provincial authorities to intervene.

All the machines have since been removed from the site.

The forum is notorious for using force to take stakes from companies contracted in government projects as a form of radical economic transformation.

Sanral’s Hammarsdale project, worth R276.45 million, began in April 2016 and the agency has confirmed their deadline would not be met because of the stoppages caused by Delangokubona.

Ravi Ronny, Sanral’s Eastern Region Design Planning and Construction manager, said the project was scheduled for completion in November.

“This will be delayed due to the ongoing disruptions at the site. Sanral is committed to supporting government’s efforts to push back the frontiers of poverty and improving the lives of South African citizens in general by promoting community development through all its projects.

“It’s compulsory for all our projects to ensure participation by SMMEs, especially women-owned enterprises, and skills transfer. To this end, our new long-term strategy Horizon 2030 and Transformation Policy recognises the contribution of a state-owned entity to drive economic development through the provision and maintenance of critical infrastructure,” Ronny said.

He said the agency would use its procurement and supply chain processes to transform the construction industry, break down monopolies and advance the broad participation of black-owned contractors and suppliers.

As far as possible, contracts would set requirements for the use of labour sourced from local communities and favour the procurement of locally developed materials, equipment and technology, he said.

“Regarding the situation at the Hammarsdale interchange project, we condemn the disruption of construction work. We had demonstrated goodwill by meeting with members of the Delangokubona Business Forum and facilitating a meeting between them and our main contractors doing work in that region.”

Ronny said a Project Liaison Committee (PLC), comprising members from Sanral, the main contractor and members of the local community at Hammarsdale, was established to oversee the socio-economic requirements and ensure active community involvement and smooth running of the project.

He said the disruption of the project impacted negatively on service delivery and other catalytic effects, for example job creation, skills and SMME development.

He called on the province’s leadership, business stakeholders, the national Department of Transport and the people of KwaZulu-Natal in general to assist in resolving the current impasse.

The forum has received a number of court interdicts for employing “mafia-style” tactics to grab chunks of work from contractors on government projects. Recently, four of its members were arrested when they tried to disrupt operations at Toyota’s Prospecton plant, demanding a stake from a company contracted for renovations and maintenance.

Forum leader Nathi “Bhamuza” Mnyandu said they were not fighting with Sanral, but wanted a stake in government projects.

“That project will not see its completion if we are left out. That’s government’s money and not theirs (Sanral), so it cannot benefit a few while we local people suffer.

“President (Jacob) Zuma had made it clear that for every R5 million government project and above, 30% to 35% should be for local people. There will be no progress in that project until we get work,” Mnyandu said.

Phillip Sithole, eThekwini Municipality’s head of business support, said they did not support the stoppage of projects.

“I was not aware that it has been two months since the project had stopped. I’ll send our programme manager to meet with Sanral to find out Delangokubona’s demands. We will have to look into available possibilities of meeting those demands and that must be done within the supply chain policy,” Sithole said.

Daily News