Storm in a water pipe project

21 November 2017  Read: 67


A storm is brewing in the Bolobedu area after a project to provide residents of Jopi, Mawa and Ramotshinyadi villages with water could not satisfy all despite that the work is not yet completed. The project named the Jopi-Mawa- Ramotshinyadi water reticulation project is worth about ten million and is expected to provide more than six communities with water at the cost of the Mopani District Municipality (MDM).

The project, contracted to Tango consultants, was expected to commence on 17 November 2016 and completed on the 6th of May 2017, but the work is not yet finished. Residents have been complaining that the work being done is of a very low quality and it would appear as though the standpipes specifically, were not installed according to spec, and could be unsafe for use.

A Community Liaison Officer (CLO), Frans Mphekhwane, was employed as part of the project and  serves as a link between the community and contractors and also elect the Project Steering Committee (PSC).
When Mphekhwane started making noise about the irregularities, he was allegedly promptly removed from his position. The project has now continued to phase two with the previous CLO removed and replaced with a new one. The water project had been initiated by the district municipality because they are a water services authority and therefor responsible for supplying water to rural villages.

“The community is furious about the workmanship and the general quality of the installations on this project,” said Mphekhwane. “We feel that the contractors were using sub-standard means to construct the standpipes and compact the soil after burying the pipes, which will lead to trouble in the future. We have seen what the water reticulation projects completed at other sites look like, and if we compare them with this site, there is a marked difference.”

According to minutes of one of the meetings Bulletin is in possession of, the scope of the work in the project is as follows- the reservoir will be refurbished, nine kilometres of pipeline to be buried with sizes ranging from 75mm to 160 mm, installation of 20 new standpipes as well as to investigate the exsisting water reticulation services. The new scope was to be submitted to MDM for approval after investigating existing services.

The minutes stipulate that so far, the following had been done: programme of works is in place, contractor`s programme of works approved, and the equipment on site is as follows: two bakkies, two compactors, one compressor and a TLB. The project will stretch to places such as Rwanda, Mawa block 8, 9, and 12. So far the contractor has been paid more than R 1.3 million.

Attempts to contact spokesperson for the Mopani District Municipality (MDM) drew a blank. Bulletin will attempt to contact the spokesperson for the contractors and again the approach the MDM for clarity. We will publish an update at that time.
— Jeff Jackson



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