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School left in the lurch

By Reports by Tebogo Monama | 2012-04-13 08:49:40.0

CRACKED walls, live electricity wires and smelly loos are some of the things left by a construction company that was supposed to renovate a primary school in Ekurhuleni.

The renovations were supposed to take Ntuthuko Primary School in Katlehong to being a full-service school by 2011, but the school still cannot accommodate pupils with physical disabilities.

The Department of Public Works gave a joint tender worth R6-million to Makhamabavele and DSST to do the job.

They've already been paid R4.6-million.

The companies were supposed to build a school hall, garage, replace leaking roofs, renovate the loos and build ramps for wheelchairs.

But not a single job was completed.

The project started in February 2010. It was supposed to have been completed in September 2010. It was extended for a further four months. But, two years later this has not happened.

Deputy school principal Mzwakhe Sithole said: "We do not know where the company is. They just disappeared into thin air. They abandoned the project and their employees without even paying them."

The companies also owe the school R95,000 for water and electricity.

An official from the contractors, who chose to be identified only as Mabona, said he was travelling to Soshanguve and could not meet Sowetan .

DSST's Obed Mabena said they had not abandoned Ntuthuko.

"We are finishing up a project in Soshanguve and will move back to Katlehong next week."

But the Gauteng department of infrastructure and development said the contract with the companies had been terminated in March due to the delays.

The department's Philemon Motshwaedi said: "The contractor has been charged daily penalties of R1,500 for the delays ... there is also a 10% retention on all payments made being held back. The companies will also be suspended ..."

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