The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform says it was forced to cancel the building contractor of phase three of District Six as they were behind the schedule. This comes after Fikile Construction, the company that was awarded the building contract by the department, was terminated as a result of non-compliance of legal obligations. The construction was expected to be completed this year with 108 housing units being built for District Six claimants, however due to the contract with the construction company being terminated the building has been put on hold.
The department’s Deputy Director of Communication Support Services Vuyani Nkasayi, said that due to the contract with Fikile Construction being terminated, a delay has occurred in the building process, however the department is trying to find a solution to speed up the process.
“From October last year the contractor who was building phase 3 in District Six, has failed all our deadlines. We engaged with them in several meetings, and then by investigating we realised that the company is facing financial problems. We reached a stage in November 2017 where we noticed that the construction is not moving, and that work would only be done only once a week, if we lucky. This led to us terminating the contract in March 2018,” explained Nkasayi.
When government terminates a contract, there is a procedure that has to be followed. He explained that a closure report still needs to be completed, which will break down the extent of work that was completed and the amount of money that was spend. It will determine how much money the company has to refunded to the department.
The completion date for phase three depends on when a new contractor will be hired. Nkasayi says the Department will verify the existing work done by Fikile Construction, followed by the drafting of new tender documents.
According to Nkasayi, the department’s construction director was unaware of the company being liquidated; and had done all the background checks with the company.
“They were the best company when we did to the tenders. They have a few tenders with other government departments, and they would work when they receive money only. We will disclose everything when the report is completed, but we very disappointed that the delay is preventing the original people of District sSx to return to their homes,” he explained.
The delays in District Six have raised the ire of claimants and opposition parties, with the Democratic Alliance questioning department officials during a meeting with the Standing Committee for Human settlements this week. Officials from the Department of Rural Development and Land reform stated that only R333 million had been allocated to the land restitution programs of District Six. R153 million of this amount is still available.
However, the Department’s District Six business plan explains that R700 million was allocated to the project. This amount was also confirmed by former President, Jacob Zuma, who in 2011, went on to say that all claimants would be returned to District Six by 2014.
District Six Reference Group spokesperson Fareeda Moosa said they were concerned about Fikile Construction’s appointment from the beginning.
“They had to throw down walls due to the quality. We do not want a repeat of the poor quality in phase one and phase two. They are now doing a bill of quantities, which will take at least 3-months; the longest delay will be 6 months. We will take up to 9-months for the delay if it’s quality,” said Moosa.
The Reference Group has no control on who gets appointed, she explained. The main aim is to ensure that claimants return in the shortest and best way.
“We expressed our concern that due to the cheap rate, they will take the cheapest of labour. We warned the department and they still when ahead with them,” she stressed. VOC