The contractors have vacated the worksite at Rooirand Primary School in Barkly West due to non-payment.
THE CONTRACTORS have vacated the worksite at Rooirand Primary School in Barkly West due to non-payment.
The contractors, Stimos Maintenance and Projects, have apparently not received payment since April. They are struggling with cash flow problems and cannot purchase building materials, pay salaries or pay subcontractors.
Notice was given that they would vacate the site as of August 1.
Two invoices amounting to R6.1 million and R2 million were submitted, although no payment has been received.
The chairperson of the project steering committee, Tebogo Raadt, said 70 general and skilled workers were now sitting at home, unemployed.
“The contractor has been paying salaries and wages out of his pocket. The last payment was received in March,” said Raadt.
“Non-payment is ruining his reputation as he is not able to purchase building materials on credit with the hope of repaying this once he receives payment from the Department of Education. The contractor is from Johannesburg and he cannot take out a loan or overdraft to continue with the project. Therefore, they will not return to site until some form of payment or partial payment is made so that they can continue with the work.”
Raadt added that construction was around 80 percent complete and the contractor was aiming to complete the project by January next year. “However, this goalpost will have to be shifted due to all the delays.
“Parents were eager to enrol their children at the new school as it is within walking distance of their homes. Some pupils have to travel up to 20 kilometres to get to school and not all of them are able to afford transport. The school will accommodate Setswana and English pupils from Grade R to Grade 9.”
Raadt stated that no answers were available regarding when the payment would be honoured. “The contractor is just being told to be patient.”
The Northern Cape Department of Education had not responded to media enquiries by the time of going to print.