Many factors behind two-year delay of school upgrade

2015-12-29 10:17
The construction site at Henryville Primary.

The construction site at Henryville Primary. (Thabang Mathebula, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg -A multi-million Rand upgrade of a primary school in Edendale is expected to be completed early next year, nearly two years behind schedule.

The R17 million upgrade of existing classrooms and the construction of new classrooms at Henryville Primary School began in January 2013, and was expected to take 17 months.

However, a series of delays — resulting from the apparent dismissal of officials, theft on site, and the main contractor falling ill for months on end — has resulted in the Department of Public Works moving the completion date to January 2016.

Responding to the outcry from the Edendale community, the department distanced itself from the delays and dismissed an allegation that the key departmental staff driving this project had resigned or been fired.

Mbulelo Baloyi, of the office of the Human Settlements and Public Works MEC, said, “The construction was halted due to the principal agent falling sick to a point where he could not continue with his duties. Further delays occurred when they had to replace the quantity surveyor.

“After the appointment of a new consultant, they first had to familiarise themselves with the project. As can be seen, the delays may not necessarily be attributed to a single factor or an individual, but to numerous [factors or people].

“If there is a delay, which is beyond the contractor’s control, and if this delay impacts the completion date of the works, the contractor should be entitled to receive an extension of time.”

The Department of Education failed to comment despite numerous inquiries sent by the The Witness.

The construction company Pandev, which executed the first phase of the project, was unable to give clarity about the disruptions at the site.

The construction is currently continuing with a new architect. The previous architects, Stucke Harrison Architects, completed the first phase and could not continue as the company’s founder retired and closed down the operation.

• thabang.mathebula@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  upgrade  |  school

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