Alex Japho Matlala
2 minute read
20 Feb 2019
6:30 am

Limpopo R29m tap water project stalls amid row over materials

Alex Japho Matlala

Community members say the pipes for the project look like they were exhumed from another project because most of them have already cracked.

These are some of the pipes delivered to the construction site in the Relela Cluster of Bolobedu. The project has stalled because residents accuse the contractor of using substandard materials. Picture: Alex Matlala

A multimillion-rand Limpopo water project is stalling, amid claims that a contractor was using substandard material, instead of following specifications of the municipal engineers.

Construction at the bulk water supply project in Bolobedu, just outside Tzaneen, should have started in November with reticulation to villages in July this year. Instead, the thirsty community still used dirty water from rivers and fountains for their day-to-day household needs.

“The pipes delivered on site are not ductile iron pipes and are not new,” said an angry community member, who asked not to be named. “They look like they were exhumed from another project because most of them have already cracked.”

An ANC councillor in the Tzaneen municipality, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said this behaviour by contractors has become a norm in the Mopani district.

“Service providers always make expensive requisitions but, in turn, buy cheap material so they can share the profit with their political masters within the municipality after payment.”

Connie Ramothwala, ward 10 steering committee member, said the community of Bolobedu stopped the start of the project in November because they demanded the appointment of steering committees and media officers.

“We wanted them to receive material when delivered on site,” said Ramothwala. “The disgruntled community wanted to ensure all materials delivered met the criteria and specification as outlined by the municipality when the contractor was appointed.”

The contractor in question, Civic Elements, was awarded a R29 million tender to connect water from the source to four local wards in the Relela Cluster.

In the 2015-16 financial year, the department of water and sanitation budgeted R55 million to help turn around the water situation in Bolobedu.

But The Citizen can reveal that none of those boreholes have a single drop of water today.

Asked for comment, Kholofelo Monareng of Civic Elements downplayed the claims levelled against his company and referred all queries to the municipality.

Municipal spokesperson Witness Tiva said the municipality didn’t see anything untoward with the materials bought by the service provider.

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