Gauteng library construction scandal

By Paul Willemburg MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Heritage:

In a report delivered before the Gauteng Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SRAC) following oversight visits to four libraries the West Rand and Tshwane – it revealed that two libraries were under construction, one new library built and one underwent upgrading.

Furthermore, the Olievenhoutbosch Library where construction was completed in August this year, remains closed as there are no desks, reception area nor any bookshelves, electricity and sewer connections.

This despite the contractor being paid R400 000 to complete the library. The project started late, sub-contractors did not receive their funds and the contractor claimed the money received from the department was not enough.

At Kagiso Extension 6 Library, construction was set to be completed in March of this year, however at the time of the oversight visit the library was nothing more than a skeleton structure. The roof leaks, there is no electrical wiring and windows have no glass fitted.

The department reported in March 2014 that the Kagiso Extension 12 Library was open and functioning, but the oversight visit to this facility proved otherwise. The library is not fully operational and had zero books and no equipment. The infrastructure is disintegrating and nothing has been maintained.

The report concluded that the construction companies appeared to be stalling by not paying their sub-contractors.

(Click here to access the Portfolio Committee report).

I will submit further questions to the sports arts and culture MEC Faith Mazibuko over the exact amounts paid to the construction companies and to obtain information on tenders issued.

It is scandalous that the residents in these communities have been robbed of the opportunity to access invaluable resources via their local libraries.

The Department and the new MEC should do urgent monitoring on these projects and provide answers to the communities of Kagiso and Olievenhoutbosch.