Hole in the fence

2017-05-30 06:01
The park in Panton Road where fencing needs to be completed.

The park in Panton Road where fencing needs to be completed.

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Residents of Fairways want some answers in regard to promised fencing in the area.

For some time residents near the park in Panton Road have asked to have the park fenced in for safety and security reasons.

But now they have a situation where three sides have been fenced and money has allegedly run out to complete the project.

Dmitri Jegels, chairperson of the Fairways Residents’ and Civic Association (Fresca), says there seems to be quite a number of irregularities in this project.

“When we first requested that the park be fenced off last year, the local ward councillor, Monty Oliver, promised that there was an amount of R400 000 allocated to it and it would be done during this year,” he says.

“With three of the four boundaries done we have now been told that the money has run out. It made us suspicious.

“What irks us more is that while the construction was under way, our deputy chairperson, Kim Abrahams, an engineer, conducted an inspection and came to the conclusion that there were serious problems with the methodology employed and the quality of the materials used.

“We also got an independent contractor to inspect the fence, and he found that the materials used do not appear to be up to standard, but he would need a sample of the fence to confirm his suspicions. He was adamant, though, that the fence as it stands should have cost no more than R250 000.”

Jegels adds that at that stage the organisation contacted the City of Cape Town council with their findings and called for operations to stop and for an inspection to be done, and also asked for an explanation of the scope of works, a methodology statement and the specifications. But none was forthcoming.

“We sent them our request on Tuesday 16 May via our local ward councillor but it was only a day before our general meeting on 23 May that George Gilbert from City parks finally sent two staff members to inspect the fence with our deputy chairperson.

“Abrahams informed us that the staff who did the inspection were horticulturalists, and in no way qualified to pronounce on the construction of a fence.

“In correspondence Gilbert also informed me that they had actually shifted funds from another project which had fallen through, so they moved the funds to the Panton Road park, and the amount was not R400 000, but more in the region of R250 000.

“We found it rather interesting that this assertion was made only after we had started asking questions.”

Jegels adds that the fence at the park is one of two fencing projects scheduled for the ­area.

“Last year Oliver (the ward councillor) promised that two fences would go up this year, one in March behind the First Avenue houses to deter intruders attempting to enter from the Ottery Youth Centre side, and one around the park.

“As we’ve since discovered, this appears to be happening the other way around, with the fence around the Panton Road park having been partially constructed, and the tender process for the fence behind 1st Avenue still to be completed.

“Between Gilbert and Oliver we would like to know what is the correct amount that was budgeted and, most importantly, where is the rest of our fence?”

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson says: “The City is aware of difficulties in a number of departments where there were inadequate construction and project management skills.”

“That is why we have established the asset management department as part of our organisational development and transformation plan.

“All such projects will now be located in this department so that adequate project management capacity can be created to better manage them.”

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