Outcry over water scheme contract

EMERGING contractors in Zululand are accusing the local municipality of undermining them and unfairly awarding water scheme contacts to contractors from outside the area.

EMERGING contractors in Zululand are accusing the local municipality of undermining them and unfairly awarding water scheme contacts to contractors from outside the area.

Local contractors say they feel cheated because they have the skills to deliver on the project.

The disputed water scheme was introduced by the municipality to assist rural communities to get clean water delivered closer to their homes. R5million was spent on the initial phase last year alone.

Contractors allege that the water scheme contract had been awarded to companies from Ladysmith, Durban and Gauteng.

Government policies demand that any big company should give equal opportunities to local people. And the big companies should also sub-contract to local contractors.

Local contractors chairperson Meshack Shandu said the municipality had failed to understand the concept of local economic development and black economic empowerment.

"It's a joke. The municipality does not have a clear policy to develop emerging contractors," Shandu said.

Local contractor Vika Dlamini said taking the jobs outside of the district denied job and business opportunities to locals.

"Poor people here pay rates but contracts are given to outsiders."

Zululand municipality manager Johan de Klerk denied allegations that they preferred outside contractors to do the water scheme supply project.

"It's easy to make such accusations. We give advantage to the local contractors with high points when tenders are being evaluated," De Klerk said.

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