Antoinette Slabbert
2 minute read
28 Nov 2013
6:00 am

Gautrain ruling hits Bombela

Antoinette Slabbert

The Bombela Concession Company (BCC) has been dealt a heavy blow after an arbitration award was made against them regarding the water flooding in parts of the Gautrain tunnel.

File picture: Gautrain. Picture: Neil McCartney.

This will lead to extra cost for BCC and is bad news for Murray & Roberts (M&R), a shareholder in the consortium and in the Bombela Civils Joint Venture (BCJV) that was contracted to construct the tunnels.

The Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) issued a statement late yesterday saying a tribunal of three retired judges made the award in the tunnel ingress dispute between the GMA and BCC.

It said the content of the award was confidential, but the thrust was:

*The tunnel section of the Gautrain System between Johannesburg Park Station and E2 (Emergency Shaft 2) and between Rosebank Station and the Marlboro Portal was not in accordance with the contract specifications.

* With respect to the tunnel section between Johannesburg Park Station and E2 close to the Wilds in Johannesburg, remedial work must be undertaken by BCC.

Ed Jardim, spokesperson for M&R said it was not yet clear what the extra cost for Bombela and M&R would amount to. Henry Laas, CEO of M&R would address stakeholders today.

M&R said in certain cases, non-compliance could be settled through financial compensation, but corrective work would also have to carried out in other parts of the development.

Remedial work would be done by Bombela Civil Joint Venture, 45% owned by M&R, Bouygues (45%) and SPG (10%).

M&R stressed that no interruptions to the network were expected as a result of water.

“Therefore all Gautrain services will continue to operate normally pending decisions regarding the extent and nature of possible additional work, as well as other commercial arrangements to be agreed between Bombela and the Province,” it said.

The Gautrain route between Rosebank and Pretoria was opened in August 2011, but the section between Rosebank and Park station in Johannesburg opened only in June last year, because of the excessive water seepage.

The GMA insisted that the excess water, while not dangerous for passengers, was not within specifications and could shorten the life of the infrastructure in the long run.

Bombela had insisted the tunnel was designed to allow some water ingress and that the amount of seepage was acceptable.

The GMA says the details of the remedial work will be developed by Bombela and made public at a later stage.

It is not clear at this stage whether Bombela will also be held liable for the loss of income to the GMA due to the delay in opening the whole route.