Community members continue to be an impediment in the delivery of public service infrastructure, as they often disrupt work on projects built in their areas, Gauteng’s executive committee member (MEC) for infrastructure development and property management, Tasneem Motara, said.
Many residents caused disruptions by demanding to be hired even before the projects could start, she said.
The department had to stop several construction projects, including two clinics in Hammanskraal in Tshwane, due to community forcing work stoppages.
“Our role is to implement and facilitate major service delivery projects in the communities. But the main challenge that even delay completion is the community demanding a position or role in the projects without following proper procedures or without necessary skills,” Motara said.
The department’s mandate is to create jobs, but they must hire qualified people.
“With this rate of unemployment, it is very difficult for us to meet community expectations. They demand opportunities, question our processes of hiring contractors and even go to the extent of protesting and stopping entire projects,” Motara said.
“We are responsible for building schools, clinics, hospitals and libraries and these are major service delivery facilities. When they stop these projects the community will struggle to get service and will continue to complain.”
The MEC said the disruptions in Hammanskraal resulted in the contractors pulling out from the projects.
“The building of two clinics was cancelled by the contractors. Now we have to move the project to avoid losing the money. It is very challenging,” Motara said.
Another challenge is the delay of payments to contractors, causing some to stop work because they struggled to survive. As a result of late payment some contractors folded, said Motara.
The department planned to put infrastructure projects under integrated project management involving various client departments and even the municipalities to cut bureaucratic red tape in the payments.
“We want to ensure that people are paid within 30 days. We must have one system,” Motara said.