The overgrown plot of land behind the police flats in Herlear. Picture: Soraya Crowie/African News Agency (ANA)
The overgrown plot of land behind the police flats in Herlear. Picture: Soraya Crowie/African News Agency (ANA)

Row over construction of houses for Northern Cape family of 50

By Sandi Kwon Hoo Time of article published Mar 13, 2021

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Kimberley - The former contractor who was hired to build new homes for the family of 50 members from Colville, wants to obtain a court order to prevent further construction from taking place on the site if he is not paid what is due to him.

The site behind the SAPS flats in Herlear was abandoned and is now overgrown with long grass and weeds.

The Seekoei, Jacobs and Kok families, who share a three-roomed house in Colville, have been waiting for over a year for any progress after the Collen Mashawana Foundation and AfriBiz Investments undertook to build them new homes to alleviate their overcrowded living conditions.

After a plot was identified in Greenpoint in February 2020, community members threatened to burn and destroy any house constructed on the plot, as they also wanted new houses.

Some of the family members. Picture: Soraya Crowie/African News Agency (ANA)

The Northern Cape High Court Court dismissed an application by the DA to interdict construction of the homes in Herlear in January this year.

The owner of MJS Contractors, Ntshekisang Jansen Mathe, said he had incurred losses of up to R360 000 and had been blacklisted for non-payment.

“I am based in Kuruman and was hired by the Collen Mashawana Foundation to build the houses. Now it appears as if they do not care that I am out of pocket and unable to work as they have hired a new contractor to continue with the construction. I am not able to return to the site to finish the work because I have no money to continue with the project,” said Mathe.

He said he had cleared the site and had laid foundations for three houses before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

“I had to purchase and transport bricks from Potchefstroom to the building site in Kimberley. During the lockdown I had to hire a truck to transport all the materials to Kuruman and place it in storage, at an additional cost. I am not able to use some of the building material, such as the window frames, which are of certain specifications and are not of a universal size.”

Mathe said that he had requested the Collen Mashawana Foundation to facilitate the sale of the building material for the houses, to be bought over by the new contractor, to recover some of his losses.

“As a small, struggling contractor I cannot take the risk of returning to the site without any guarantees that I will be reimbursed for my services.”

Mathe added that he had not received a cent towards his expenses of hiring machinery, employing local labourers, erecting portable toilets and appointing security guards at the site.

“I owe R20 000 for renting a house to provide accommodation for my technical staff. I am not in a good financial standing and I am unable to take on new jobs because I have no more capital.”

He stated that his pleas for payment had fallen on deaf ears.

“I recently sent them a new invoice of R33 000 for the three foundations that were laid, so that I can cut my losses. If no payment is forthcoming, I will have no option but to obtain a court interdict to stop the new contractor from building on the site.”

The managing director of Afribiz Investments, Gugulethu Mmoledi, said that she regarded the matter with the contractor to have “been resolved”.

“We have sorted out the outstanding issues with the previous contractor and have received his latest invoice. We requested him to return to site to finish the work but he indicated that he had another project that he was working on and would not be available,” said Mmoledi.

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