SMMEs demand ward ring-fencing on IPTS Njoli project
Construction on Njoli route of Nelson Mandela Bay bus system has been met with resistance by small business owners demanding that all work be ring-fenced for those based in the ward.
The municipality, however, believes this would not be sustainable as it would confine businesses to work in their wards - a situation which could become problematic if there are no projects in the ward.
Municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said the city chooses emerging businesses from a pool of companies on its database. "This process appears to be unacceptable to the communities.
"The NMBM officials, while striving to implement the policy, are facing huge resistance from the respective communities who insist that recruited EME's [emerging micro enterprises] must come from the ward where work is done.
"The municipality has indicated to communities and EMEs that ward-based work ring-fencing is not sustainable to the growth of EMEs," Mniki said.
Mniki questioned how the companies would compete for work elsewhere when projects in their respective wards were completed.
"Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is a unitary city. That is the same approach it takes in doing business.
"This, in many instances, delays the projects, which results in standing times, financial claims by the contractors and subsequently late completion of the projects," he said.
The upgrading of Njoli and the Spondo Street intersection and reconfiguring of Njoli Street into a dual carriageway was planned to be implemented over two financial years.
The construction work has been delayed intermittently since it started. But it is still on track to be completed on schedule, Mniki said.
So far, the municipality has spent more than R39m on the project.
Construction on phase two of the project has started, Mniki said.
A contract worker, who did not want to be named as he is not allowed to speak to the media, said when they started the project there a were many disruptions from the different taxi associations in Njoli Square.
"You'd be disrupted by the one taxi association, sort things out with that one and another ones comes out to disrupt again.
"The infighting among ward-based SMMEs and the death of [Ward 22 Business Forum chair] Khaya [Fuleni] also caused delays but we've completed phase one now and are ready to install the traffic lights here," the worker said.
Fuleni was gunned down in October 2018...