Stephen Selaluke
3 minute read
21 Jan 2021
11:45 am

Workers on R300m Solomon Mahlangu Drive project back at work

Stephen Selaluke

The project will also see the construction of bus or taxi bays at selected intersections to support public transport and passenger convenience.

Permanent and sub-contractor workers of Umso civil construction K69 hold the R300 million project

Sub-contracted workers on a R300 million Solomon Mahlangu Drive road project are back at work after they downed tools for almost two weeks due to non-payment.

This came after about 130 sub-contract and permanent workers at the construction site decided to stall the project demanding full salaries and bonuses be paid from last month.

Gauteng department of roads and transport spokesperson Theo Nkonki confirmed the matter had been resolved and site operations were back to normal since last Friday.

He said the disruption would not affect the deadline or finishing of the R300-million Solomon Mahlangu Drive upgrade project.

Nkonki encouraged the workers to always approach the engineer on-site and the department project manager should they have any issues about their salaries.

The contract workers, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of losing their jobs, said downing tools was the only way to resolve the matter.

“There was no communication between the workers and the community liaison officers and we wanted the issue of salaries addressed as soon as possible,” they said.

“We were tired of empty promises as we had families that depended on us and children who are preparing to go to school,” they said.

The workers said the project was supposed to create jobs, but the same project was now threatening to take away jobs from locals.

“The people we trusted when the project started are now threatening everyone who launched a complaint by taking away their jobs.

Permanent and sub-contractor workers of Umso civil construction K69 demand last year’s salaries.

“We got paid half our salaries and when we asked about the outstanding amount we were threatened,” they said.

The contractors said they were told that the local businesses would benefit 30% of the contract value and that the community would also benefit in skills transfer and training programmes, but nothing was happening.

One of the community liaison officers on the site, Ernest Kwinda, said they were aware of the complaints.

“We held a meeting with all the stakeholders including the project’s directors, workers and liaison officers to resolve the matter,” said Kwinda.

He said the matter had been resolved and site operations were back to normal.

The project was officially launched by Gauteng roads and transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo and once completed would have a great impact on the economy of the east of Pretoria.

The road has been experiencing high volumes of traffic, especially during peak morning and afternoon hours. The project was expected to reduce congestion and travel times between Mamelodi and the N4.

During the launch, Mamabolo said the project would, among others, provide an improved dual carriageway resulting in less traffic congestion and fewer accidents.

Road K69 is expected to stretch to almost 12km in the north-easterly direction from Lynnwood to Mamelodi, linking Lynnwood Road to K54 in Mamelodi.

The project was expected to be completed by August 2021.

The upgrade project includes the construction of a bridge over the Pienaars river, upgrading of intersections along the route, upgrading of stormwater management infrastructure, as well as cleaning the road reserve and grass cutting.

The project will also see the construction of bus or taxi bays at selected intersections to support public transport and passenger convenience.

This article was republished from Rekord East with permission

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