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R30m KZN community library finally opened after five-year delay

An artist's impression of a community library which was finally opened on Tuesday in eDumbe, northern KZN, after a five-year delay caused by a dispute between an architect and a contractor.
An artist's impression of a community library which was finally opened on Tuesday in eDumbe, northern KZN, after a five-year delay caused by a dispute between an architect and a contractor.
Image: Image: supplied

A community library worth R30m was officially handed over to the eDumbe local municipality by KZN arts and culture MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi on Tuesday after a five-year delay.

The Bilanyoni library in the small rural town of eDumbe (formerly Paulpietersburg) in northern KZN was delayed for five years because of a clash between a contractor and an architect.

The library will offer a bursary scheme to pupils identified by the principal constructor as part of a corporate social investment project.

The bursaries will see the recipients complete their first tertiary qualification and Sithole-Moloi has encouraged other companies doing business with the department to follow "this good example of uplifting people".

The completion of the library followed an ultimatum given to the contractor and architect by Sithole-Moloi to finish the project by the end of March or their contracts would be terminated.

The Sunday Times reported last month that the delay in completing the long-awaited library, which started in 2015, was attributed to squabbling and a clash of egos between the contractor, QDS Projects, and the principal agent, Consult Three Architects.

These included disputes over the choice of service provider for the building materials.

QDS Projects was appointed in January last year after the cancellation of the first contract awarded to Ziqoqe Construction in October 2014 because of its inability to deliver.

The second contractor, QDS, was expected to complete the library in August last year but requested an extension until December, citing problems including late delivery of material by suppliers, signing of concession documents, cash flow and appointment of a subcontractor.

After it failed to meet the December deadline, it requested another extension until the end of February, and then another to March 28, which incurred Sithole-Moloi's wrath and resulted in her issuing the ultimatum.

The completed library boasts books in different languages and catering to all ages. The cyber café provides access to computers with free internet.

"This is one of the MEC's multimillion-rand projects aimed at introducing the nation to quality knowledge through books and responsible internet usage," said Sithole-Moloi's spokesperson, Mack Makhathini.

He said the library also has a play area with educational toys to keep children entertained while learning.

Makhathini said the community of eDumbe could use the state-of-the-art library on Tuesday for the first time. 


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