The City of Cape Town says it is currently on track to take over all construction activities to complete the Gugulethu infill housing project at Erf 8448 and Maumau once the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) expires on October 31.
According to a progress report that was tabled before the City’s Portfolio Committee on Human Settlement on Thursday, the contractor on the Masikhule (Erf 8448) was terminated by the provincial government on July 31.
The termination of the Simply Do site is currently under consideration by the province and awaits finalisation if input from the provincial legal team. A total of 27 units are in the finishing stages, and every effort is being made to hand over these units to the rightful beneficiaries.
The report further states that City Energy is assisting with the electrification of these units; however, the repair of snags is challenging since there is no longer an active contractor on the site and that alternative arrangements via a maintenance contractor are currently being pursued.
“Several engagements were held with the Sub-council along with the Project Engagement Committee (PEC) and a number of beneficiaries on July 26 and August 29 regarding the termination and incomplete units. The termination was not well received, but there is an understanding from some stakeholders on the need to find a decisive way forward,” reads the report.
The City and the provincial government have reached an agreement to beef up security to protect partially built units from invasions and vandalism, and a security plan is being developed for implementation during the transitional period when the provincial MOA concludes on October 31, 2023.
Carl Popham, City Mayoral Committee Member, says this project has been through a dramatic period over the last decade. Communities have been waiting.
He said there are many challenges that this project has found itself in, such as government delays and, more importantly, contractor issues, which have been at the forefront in terms of safety issues, cash flow, and delays to delivery.
“The City of Cape Town took a very important decision to transfer the Gugulethu infill housing project to the City so that we can take full responsibility and that the termination of the provincial custodian ship and contract is on October 31, and from November 1, it will be the responsibility of the City of Cape Town. We are currently concluding our supply chain management processes, and we are in the evaluation phase of the appointment of a contractor,” said Popham.
Despite the progress that the City claims to have made, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Chief Whip Banani Dambuza said he does not believe that this process will be finalised before the end of the year.
“The project should have been completed already in 2018, and now it is 2023, and the delays have been caused by the City and the provincial government. What we are seeing now is that the City wants to pull out of the marriage that both of these governments have forged, and most importantly, these governments are led by the AAME party. They have been constantly playing a blame game while our people suffer,” said Dambuza.
He said, “We don’t expect any work to be done, as we know that we are approaching a festive season. Even if they managed to appoint a contractor by the end of October, we don’t see that contractor doing anything at least by January of next year, and the only motivation for this project to top commerce next year is that it will be used as a PR stunt and to get votes.’’