PREMIER David Makhura wants executive mayor Solly Msimanga to explain why the R525m BPO project in Hammanskraal has stalled. Msimanga blames the turn of events on local business people, who are demanding a stake in the project. Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)
THE R525million Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) park in Hammanskraal, launched two years ago and expected to create 3000 jobs, has stalled.

Mayor Solly Msimanga said the project was brought to a halt by a group of business people who demanded work during the construction phase.

On the other hand, Premier David Makhura has expressed concerns about the recent developments to the project and said that Msimanga ought to explain the reasons behind the project’s abrupt stoppage.

The project was hailed as a game-changer when former mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa held a sod-turning ceremony in 2016.

Residents were told that it would offer on-site training, technical support and incubators for small and medium micro-enterprises.

At the time, Ramokgopa said the City would use the old University of Pretoria campus, where the project is located, to attract investment from the public and private sectors, create jobs and develop skills and infrastructure.

It was envisaged that the project would be developed in three phases, and once fully completed, include six buildings designed to optimally support BPO operations.

Various universities, including the Gordon Institute of Business Science, part of the University of Pretoria, were involved in identifying the impediment to economic growth and empowerment in the province.

Makhura said he learnt about the problems at the project during the provincial government’s Ntirisano Outreach Programmes early this year.

He said the project was stuck entirely in the hands of the City of Tshwane. “I can’t tell you now why the construction has stopped. The reality is that it is delayed. There are 3000 jobs at the BPO park that will be created in that locality. I look forward to engaging with the mayor soon. I hope he will make time,” Makhura said.

However, Msimanga said the stalling of the project was not because of his government. “It has to do with business forums. There are people who wanted to stop the project because they were not getting a share of the contract.

“It is unfortunate because the completion of the project will result in thousands of jobs being created,” he said.

Msimanga said the City would continue to engage with councillors and community leaders in the area.

Msimanga said the main contractor threatened to pull out if the fighting could not be solved soon. “We have done what was not done in the project; legislatively, we have corrected all the documents and the plans. Initially they started building without the approval of the plan,” he said.

In February during the delivery of the State of the Province Address, Makhura said the BPO would offer on-site training, technical support and incubators for small, medium and micro-enterprises.