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Community shuts down school construction site

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“The site will remain closed until the issue of the outstanding 30% that must go to local subcontractors has been revealed,”

THE CONSTRUCTION site of the new Rooirand Primary School in Barkly West has been shut down for two weeks by community members, who are demanding a 30% share of the subcontracts.

According to the community, the main contractor promised that 30% of the construction work on the R94 million project would go to local subcontractors.

Construction of the school started in May 2019 and is expected to be completed in December this year. Work at the site has, however, come to a standstill.

According to the chairperson of the project’s steering committee, Tebogo Raadt, things started falling apart after the contractor refused to reveal the value of the promised 30%.

“The site will remain closed until the issue of the outstanding 30% that must go to local subcontractors has been revealed,” said Raadt.

A meeting is scheduled for this Sunday.

Meanwhile, workers at the construction site have refused to accept a no work, no pay policy and have demanded their full wages from January 1 to 17.

“It is the employer’s fault that these important issues were not resolved timeously,” said Raadt.

An urgent meeting was scheduled yesterday between the workers, community members and the construction company, with calls for the Department of Education to intervene urgently.

Members of the community and the workers have accused the contractor of failing to deliver on several of his promises regarding wages and community benefits. The workers also complained about “poor working conditions”.

The workers further complained about discrepancies such as irregular pay days and unexplained deductions on their salaries which, they said, the employer promised to refund but which had not happened.

The workers also said that they earn less than the normal construction rate of R190 per day. “In this regard, today’s (Thursday) meeting was successful, as the workers negotiated a tariff of R218.50 per day,” a community member said yesterday.

A community meeting is expected to be held in Barkly West on Sunday to determine a way forward.