Now Malema bungles R8m project

2010-03-28 10:05

POOR workmanship by SGL Engineering Projects, a company

majority-owned by Julius Malema, has now spilled over into Mpumalanga.

City Press can reveal today that the controversial ANC Youth League

(ANCYL) president’s company has bungled the designs for the construction of an

R8-million centre for people living with disabilities at Marite Village,

Bushbuckridge, about 70km east of Nelspruit.

Malema’s business empire has now spread its wings into Mpumalanga

even though some of the roads and bridges it built in Limpopo as part of its

R140-million worth of tenders collapsed within months of completion.

Embattled Buchbuckridge mayor Milton Morema, who is under siege

from service delivery protesters pushing for his removal, is considered one of

Premier David Mabuza’s trusted confidants in the province’s Bohlabela region.

The unfortunate beneficiaries of SGL’s shoddy work in Mpumalanga

are more than 1?000 disabled people from the area.

They are still waiting for the centre, more than two years after

SGL was appointed to design and determine its costs.

The project’s budget was increased from R1.5?million to R8?million

between June 2008 and February this year.

SGL’s apparently under par designs are seen as one of the main

­reasons for construction delays.

Less than a week after municipal spokesperson Matome Malatji told

City Press that the site had been handed over to a contractor, Mologadi

Investments, he said this week that construction had since been put on hold

pending SGL’s resubmission of new designs.

The old ones were sent back to the company on Thursday for fixing,

Malatji added.

Dated March 25 2010, the municipality’s letter to SGL was drafted

and sent just days after City Press inquired about the project.

As consulting engineers for the project, SGL was entitled to a 14%

share of the R8?million, amounting to nearly R1.2?million.

But the municipality this week refused to pay the company, saying

its designs contained “errors”.

“We have not paid them because we were not satisfied with their

drawings,” Malatji said. “There were certain errors on the drawings and SGL must

fix those things before any payment can be made.”

The letter, which City Press has, provided detailed reasons why SGL

could not be paid.

It requested a complete set of drawings, approval letters for

­specialist services and also queried some of the company’s financial claims and

lack of industry ­compliance.

“Please clarify the 5?012 kilometers travelled on 18th of February

2010. Your typing, printing and coping rates should be as per ECSA (Engineering

Council of South Africa),” reads part of the letter.

Malatji added that construction of the centre would resume once SGL

submitted new designs.

ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu referred all inquiries about the

engineering company’s tender saga to SGL, saying “Julius is not involved in

SGL’s operational issues”.

SGL lawyer Mpoyana Ledwaba confirmed that the company had not been

paid.

However, he failed to respond to written questions on the

municipality’s suggestions that SGL had bungled the designs.

Community leaders and a councillor claim that the mayor gave SGL

the tender in order to buy ­Malema’s protection against service delivery

protesters.

They have held endless marches between last year and this week

complaining about incomplete roads, water projects as well as the unfair

allocation of RDP ­houses.

Malema made a surprise stopover in the area last weekend en-route

to Nelspruit, where he attended the R50-million wedding of IT mogul Robert

Gumede.

He told locals to raise their service delivery concerns within ANC

structures rather than allow “drunkards” to embarrass the ruling party by taking

to the streets and burning tyres.

“People are playing with freedom,” Malema said.

“They wake up in the morning and say because somebody bought us

alcohol today we are marching to remove the mayor.”

Delta Mokoena, a local ANC leader who led the protests, said

Malema’s visit was designed to neutralise the anti-Morema rebellion and to

protect his business ­interests.

Another community leader added: “We think that the mayor gave him

(Malema) a tender to buy his influence and protection because he is closer to

Zuma and also serves in the national executive committee.”

Shivambu dismissed the claims against Malema as “stupid”, denying

any close relations between the youth leader and Morema.

“He (Malema) got to meet Milton for the first time when he spoke

there last week.

“He was not even aware that there was a tender given to SGL by that

municipality,” he insisted.

Morema referred enquiries to Malatji, who also rubbished claims

against the mayor as “unfounded”.

“When the company was appointed in 2008 little did we know that

Malema was part of it,” Malatji ­insisted.


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