Strike delays R40-million water project in Empangeni

Trenches left open and unattended as the strike continues PHOTO: Orrin Singh

THE Empangeni CBD water pipeline upgrade project has been left stagnant for some two weeks.

This follows wage disputes between disgruntled workers and a company awarded the tender to complete the R40-million upgrade.

Reports indicate the KSS Group is in negotiations with employees, who earlier this month downed tools.

The ZO initially reported on the project in June when the City of uMhlathuze issued the tender to replace the main waterline from Empangeni to Ngwelezana.

Dennis Rafferty of the Empangeni Mazda dealership told the ZO he was fed up with the slow progress of the project, which negatively impacts his business.

‘For two months the trenches have been left open. It’s an obvious safety hazard to the public and some haven’t even been marked properly.

‘I have customers walking in and out constantly and it is a major concern for us.

‘We have seen a decline in customers because they cannot park here because of the construction. They seem to think we are doing the work and that we are closed,’ Rafferty said.

City of uMhalthuze spokesperson Mdu Ncalane said they are aware of the problem and their technicians are dealing with the issue.

‘We are aware of the strikes for almost two weeks now and it is being dealt with by the contactor. It is a matter between the contractor and its employees.

‘Our technicians are attempting to speed up the process by putting pressure on the contractor to resolve the issues,’ said Ncalance.

The project itself will see the old asbestos pipes upgraded and replaced with thicker, plastic pipes which have a longer shelf life.

‘The old asbestos pipes can last up to 40 years, while the newer plastic pipes can last some 70 years,’ Ncalane told the ZO.

ALSO READ: South32 helps fund water harvesting project in City of uMhlathuze


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Orrin Singh

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