Johannesburg to investigate R94 million road that was half finished

The City of Johannesburg has announced an investigation into a R94 million road upgrade in Braamfischerville, with the current state of the road in ‘complete disarray’.

The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) said it was forced to appoint a third main contractor after the first two failed to complete construction works on the 13km stretch of road.

The first main contractor only completed works on 6km of the road and some stormwater. The contract was terminated a year later, in October 2018, due to poor performance. Over R63 million was spent in this period.

The second main contractor commenced works in June 2019 and only managed to complete 3km of the road by the time the contract was terminated in January 2021, due to repudiation by the main contractor. An additional R30 million was spent.

The road has incurred further damage over the years because of heavy rains, the city said.

“An investigation into the R94 million that was spent on the project will determine how much of it was fruitless and wasteful expenditure. This kind of disservice to our residents is completely unacceptable and should be prevented from happening in future,” said Belinda Echeozonjoku, the city’s mayoral committee member for Development Planning.

Members of the community said that they last saw the second main contractor on-site in December 2020.

“That means a full year passed without any work being done. This simply highlights the lack of oversight that had been happening at the JDA for some time. The fact that payments were made to the main contractors begs the question on how payments were made without work being verified on site,” she said.

The JDA has lodged a claim of R8 million against the construction guarantees of the first main contractor and will further lodge a claim of approximately R4 million to the second main contractor, pending the outcome of the legal matter currently underway.

Acting chief executive of the JDA Sherylee Moonsamy said that the poor performance by the main contractors and subsequent contract terminations have resulted in additional budget and budget constraints to complete the project.

It is estimated that at least another R23.5 million will be required to remedy the damages on the incomplete works and to complete the project.

Read: New highway upgrades for South Africa

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Johannesburg to investigate R94 million road that was half finished