It was important for the City to realise the extent of the anger that our residents felt as a result of a really poor job, the frequent lack of water availability and the poor state in which the sidewalks were left.
We met with a number of the senior management on 8 December 2020 under the chairmanship of Mr. Stanley Itshegetseng, the Deputy Director of the Committee for Environment, Infrastructure and Services. After SAPRA’s submission, the chairman acknowledged that the quality of the work had been substandard and the communication between the City and SAPRA had not worked very well and he apologised to the community. It was important to acknowledge however, that we should not dwell on the past problems but try to find ways to avoid the past mistakes in future projects. It was reported that the water pipe renewal project has been completed but the water pressure project was still on-going, and work (and water supply interruptions) will continue.
It was acknowledged by the City that the work had been allocated to contractors that employ semi-skilled workers and that one of the projects’ objectives is to provide skills transfer and training for such employees. SAPRA made the point that, whilst we support the idea of skills transfer, this must be done under very close supervision, training and management to avoid costly blunders and questioned whether this was the optimum way of providing such training and keeping costs under control.
- Senior management under the leadership of the Deputy Director, would attend a site inspection together with SAPRA on Monday, 14 December 2020 to assess the state of the sidewalks and leakages. SAPRA would draw up a list of outstanding issues to be addressed.
- Any future project would have a steering committee which would be responsible for oversight of the project under the chairmanship of Tim Truluck. SAPRA would be invited to such meetings to facilitate communication between the City and the community, and to ensure accountability and transparency. SAPRA would not have any executive role.
We believe that this will give us the opportunity to bring problems to the attention of senior management at the City so that they can be addressed. We, in turn, will provide feedback to our members so that their expectations and understanding can be properly managed.