Gauteng government speeds up infrastructure development

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Gauteng government is working around the clock to fast track infrastructure development in the province.

Gauteng MEC of Infrastructure Development and Property Management, Tasneem Motara, is on the mission to inspect as many projects as possible to advance service delivery.

“For me to be satisfied … I come to sites physically with the internal department team as well as the contractors to see first-hand what is happening on the ground,” Motara told SAnews during her site visits on Monday.

Motara visited Mogobeng Primary School in Katlehong, Impumelelo Library and Devon Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre.

The MEC said the tours are also an opportunity to interact with the communities and those working and benefiting from these projects.

The department is in the business of building social infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, clinics, ECD centres and libraries, which Motara describes as important centres of excellence for communities.  

“It is where you’re either going to learn reading and writing, or going to research as in the library,” she added.

In addition, she told SAnews that healthcare is at the heart of what they do as government especially in the face of COVID-19.

“For us, it’s important that communities get what they deserve in terms of infrastructure to support social services.”

Devon ECD Centre

Motara is looking forward to another successful project that will see the Devon ECD centre open its door to 80 children in the community.

The state-of-the-art R18 million centre is equipped with four learning centres, an administration block, kitchen, four sick bays, nurses’ station, ablutions, changing rooms and storerooms.

The day care centre has a big enough playground with swings and jungles gyms for the kids.

“It’s transforming the face of ECD, what you and I know as crèches,” she said, proudly.

She believes that this is the place where children will reach their ECD milestones.

“I know I went to a crèche where I slept most of the day, ate and sang a few nursery rhymes and went home,” she said.

However, the MEC said government is determined to ensure that children that enter the schooling system have gone through comprehensive and intensive development.

“I think we focus a lot on matric, the trick is that it ends at matric but what you put in is what you get out and what you put in is here at this facility.”

Challenges

While government is serious about infrastructure development, there are some challenges, Motara acknowledged. 

“Typically, this is how my day looks like when we go to the site, you’ll get a range from very good to very bad,” she added.

For instance, the extension of Mogobeng Primary School, which was meant to be completed in 2018, is still unfinished after the department ran into problems with the service provider.

Meanwhile, there are discrepancies in the design work of Impumelelo Library in Devon, while the workers are on a go-slow due to the contractor not paying salaries.

“It’s a very sad case where the contractor is paid by the client department but doesn’t pay service providers, doesn’t pay subcontractors, even their own staff,” Motara said.

“I’ve convened an urgent meeting with the contractor to determine what the issue is. They will also get a final written warning with 48 hours to respond, failing which we will institute other legal instruments, even terminating the contractor to save the project.” 

The MEC has since instituted an investigation into the two projects to uncover who is responsible for the non-performance and delays.

She thanked the communities for their patience.

“Of course, we want to improve our delivery time and we’re looking at ways of improving turnaround times,” she added. – SAnews.gov.za

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