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Limpopo businesswomen wants R5m from municipality for services rendered in 'doomed’ reservoir contract

Workers dismantle the scaffolding at a reservoir in Thapane outside Tzaneen in Limpopo. Picture: Supplied

Workers dismantle the scaffolding at a reservoir in Thapane outside Tzaneen in Limpopo. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 23, 2022

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Pretoria - A Limpopo businesswoman has registered an urgent application to the Polokwane High Court to force the Mopani District Municipality to pay her more than R5 million for services rendered after signing a 2018 contract to build a reservoir in Thapane outside Tzaneen in Limpopo.

She also accused the municipality of failing to pay engineers which had delayed the project for months as they would terminate their contracts prompting the municipality to find another engineer who would start from scratch.

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According to Zenobia Trading CC’s owner Dikeledi Malatji the project was doomed from the start when the municipality failed to pay the first engineer who terminated his contract leaving the construction in limbo.

“The first engineer was not getting paid and he quit because of all these stoppages which meant we had to stop until July 2020 when they appointed another engineer.

“We struggled to re-establish the site because of late payments from the municipality which resulted in myself paying workers from my own pocket because we would be idling while we wait for a new engineer.”

So I have come to the courts so that the municipality pays the rest of the money so I can complete this project.

Malatji enlisted the help of Ezra Matlala attorneys who filed an urgent court application that was first heard on Tuesday.

Court papers seen by Independent media name the Mopani District municipality as the first respondent and the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional affairs as the second respondent.

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The urgent application reads in part: “We are instructed to direct the first respondent to pay to the applicant the sum of R4 981 990.66 as the amount certified by the first respondent agent under payment certificate number 22 issued in terms of clause 6.10.1 of the general conditions of contact of construction works.”

The court papers further seek for the court to rule that the municipality also pay interest of the amount

Municipal spokesperson Odas Ngobeni said they were aware of the court case but could not go into detail because the matter was in court.

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He said: “ Its true that we have a dispute with the contractor and it's also true that the matter is currently before the court.

“We will respect that process as it unfolds, our commitment to see the project completed remains. We will soon be engaging with the community to formally communicate the way forward.”

Judgement is expected to be handed out today.

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