Contractor removes logs after outcry

EFF Ward 74 chairman Mkhululi Ndude on the site where he claims logs were buried.

An EFF community leader has accused contractors clearing land for formal housing in Imizamo Yethu of “corruption” by burying logs on the site instead of doing what they’re paid for and removing them.

Phase 3 of the housing project makes provision for about a thousand homes.

According to Brett Herron, the City’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Ruwacon (Pty) Ltd, the contractor responsible for the construction of bulk and internal civil engineering services on the Forestry site, is sub-contracting local enterprises for cutting and removing logs from the construction site in an effort to employ as many local businesses and workers as possible.

Mkhululi Ndude, chairman of both the EFF’s Ward 74 branch and the Imizamo Yethu Movement, said the buried logs could lead to subsidence.

“Early last month, we learnt that workers buried about four huge logs right on the site near the Disa temporary relocation area.

“We feel that if this is going on, the houses that are eventually built there will sink and collapse. Our information showed that this was done on a Sunday morning when there weren’t many people around.

“It is unacceptable that people are doing this when they are being paid to do a job.”

Mr Ndude said a housing committee meeting was held where the contractor admitted it had “done something wrong”.

“City officials have also been notified, and we are awaiting the outcome of their investigation. We believe there must be consequences for this.”

The EFF and Imizamo Yethu Movement were “not happy” with the manner in which the building contractors had been dealing with the housing steering committee to date, he said.

Mr Herron said when the City became aware that some logs were buried on the formal housing construction site, a meeting was held on March 8 where the City, Ruwacon, the City’s principal agent, Lukhozi Civil Engineers, and some steering committee members, including Mr Ndude, were present.

“The purpose of the site meeting was to establish the facts of the matter. At the meeting, Ruwacon was asked about the logs, and they admitted that they were responsible for burying the logs. Based on what was ascertained at the site meeting, the matter was brought forward and discussed at the steering committee meeting for the formal housing project which took place on March 14.

“Ruwacon apologised for what had happened and their apology was accepted.”

At both meetings, Mr Herron said, the way forward was decided with the Imizamo Yethu members present contributing to the discussion and decision-making process.

“The principal agent has instructed Ruwacon to remove the logs at no cost to the City, to replace the hole with suitable infill material and to compact the material so that subsidence will not occur.

“The necessary investigation and action required in terms of the civil engineering contract is being undertaken.

“The process of dealing with the matter was discussed, explained and agreed to at the abovementioned meetings held on March 8 and 14 respectively.”

De Waal Boshoff, Ruwacon’s manager for labour relations and legal matters, confirmed the company had been contracted for the construction of bulk earthworks and civil engineering services at the housing project.

“We have indeed cleared logs from an area earmarked for formal housing development. We, however, emphasise that the logs were thereafter buried on land that is not destined for any housing development. The site therefore posed no risk for future housing development,” he said.

“The above facts became evident through quality control systems that are in place.

“We confirm that the logs have been removed and that suitable material will be brought in and compacted to prevent sagging of the soil. All of this will be done at no extra cost to the client.”