Traders complain over bogged down drain project

2011-08-05 00:00

THE Richmond business community is furious about a drainage project on which no work has been done for four months.

The project aims to improve the dusty conditions of Shepstone Street in the major trading area of the Richmond Municipality.

Said Rajan Singh, a local businessman, “We have spoken to the municipal officials about the negative impact that this project was having on our business and they gave us promising answers, but they have not delivered on their promise.”

He said that even the old-age home has been affected. The residents have to look for another route to town because the project has blocked the front gate on Shepstone Street.

Singh said the only roads that the municipality has made its area of priority to fix are the ones leading to the Richmond shopping complex.

Even the road that is used by people going to the Richmond police station is in a mess, he added.

“This is where Ndaleni taxi rank is found and more business is operated in this area, but that has not been made an area of priority.”

Responding to the grievances, municipal manager Sibusiso Sithole said, “The project has not been stopped. However, the delay was in part caused by rain that we have experienced since the project started.”

Sithole said that besides the rain, the other major problem was that when the contractors were digging a trench to build drainage they found that there was a huge rock that needed to be blasted.

“We had to then ask for more funding from Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs because when the project started we had not budgeted for the rock blasting as we had not anticipated that we might encounter this problem,” said Sithole.

He said the project was due to be completed by the end of July. However, with these problems they have been given an extension until September and the budget has been approved for it.

A source in the municipality said, “It is hogwash that the municipality did not anticipate the rock problem because it is situated in the main road, and surely town planners or a project manager would have known about this.”

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