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The contractors appointed for the development of "Potgieterpark" along Louis Trichardt’s Rissik Street are clearly not letting any grass grow under their feet. This photo was taken early Tuesday morning, with the site abuzz with construction activity.

Park development leaves residents puzzled

Date: 22 March 2024 By: Andries van Zyl

In recent weeks, Louis Trichardt residents have been questioning what exactly is happening in the park on Rissik Street, between Kock and Reitz Street. The park has been completely cordoned off, with construction vehicles spotted in the area daily.

A clue emerged as to what was happening from the contract signboard erected on site. “Construction of Potgieterpark,” it proclaims. The signboard indicates that the employer is Makhado Municipality, with the project forming part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The appointed contractors are Kumbatia, in a joint venture with 1 Daisy, with Rixongile Consulting Engineers as the engineers.

Further investigation revealed that the “construction of Potgieterpark” was reflected as far back as the Makhado Municipality’s 2016/17 budget, when R300,000 was allocated for it. What exactly the R300,000 was intended for remains unclear.

The Potgieterpark development was mentioned again in Makhado’s 2022/23 budget, with an amount of R4 million budgeted for the 2023/24 financial year and R6 million for the 2024/25 financial year. However, Makhado Municipality’s draft Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for 2022/23 listed R1 million for the project and R5 million for 2023/24.

Yes, the numbers are confusing. Even more bewildering is how the contract value has now suddenly escalated to just over R17.1 million. Advertised under tender number 92 of 2023 and awarded to the aforementioned contractors, the project handover certificate confirms this amount. It further states that contract works officially commenced on 5 March, with the anticipated completion date listed as 12 September 2024.

So, what will this just over R17.1 million “buy” for residents?

The newspaper obtained a “scope of work” document outlining what is to be done and built as part of the contract. The contract, among other things, entails the construction of an outdoor gym, a children's play area, 10 braai stands, 10 bomas, an amphitheatre, and a wedding garden. Additionally, the project includes the construction of ablution facilities, an administration block, and a guardhouse. A borehole is also to be drilled and equipped on the premises (with drilling already having taken place) to feed four 10,000-litre water tanks, also to be erected on the premises. Parking space will also be created for 122 vehicles.

Some residents in the immediate area are already wondering how this “party park” will impact their lives. Some have also asked when and where this proposed development had been advertised for public input. Others have expressed reservations about the “taste of things to come” if the more than eight hours the neighbourhood spent without electricity last Thursday after an electric cable was severed at the site are anything to go by. Social-media users placed the blame on the contractors, but this could not be confirmed. Questions about the contract were sent to Makhado Municipality last week, but at the time of our going to press, municipal spokesperson Mr Louis Bobodi had yet to respond.

 

 
 
 

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Andries van Zyl

Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.

 
 

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