The Guard

The Truth On Board

Fallout in fibre laying project

By Masilo Malakwane

QWAQWA – A public spat has erupted between sub-contractors and the Maluti-A-Phofung local municipality, just when the residents of QwaQwa residents thought the digging of holes and installation of poles to erect an Ariel fibre internet cable-laying project was at an advanced stage.

This publication is made to understand that dispute between the municipal manager and the sub-contractors who were engaged by the municipality in November last year, began when municipal manager ordered that those poles be removed within the municipal, area citing land pollution.

A representative of the sub-contractors, Moeketsi Mphuthi, claims municipal manager Futhuli Tseko Mothamaha, who authorized their approval to work on the municipal land, is now the one instructing the sub-contractors to halt the project.

“The MM called us to an urgent meeting last week whereby he ordered us to stop with the project with immediate effect, citing the land pollution as his reason. We find his request to be insufficient and lacking clarity because we were supposed to have at least finished the first phase by now, but he decided otherwise.”

“We request to be treated with respect like other contractors who are doing business within the municipality. It is very easy for the MM to tell us in the advance stages of the project to halt it, what about our families that depend on our businesses? What do we tell our kids?” said a bemused Mphuthi

Meanwhile, the main contractor in this fibre project, Bester Technologies South Africa (BTSA) also bemoans the manner in which they were informed by the municipal manager to halt the project from continuing.

BTSA representative, Felix Fulumame said even if there were some factors that could have led municipal manager to abruptly halt the project, he is not aware that such a hasty decision will discourage these sub-contractors because they have already spent their hard earned money to ensure that they complete the first phase.

“But will engage the municipality again and see if we can come up with new innovative and effective ways to complete the project,” Fulumame said.

However, the municipal manager, Futhuli Tseko Mothamaha said he had instructed BTSA and its sub-contractors to adhere to environmental standards when performing their duties like they did in other municipalities such as Ekurhuleni in South Gauteng province.

“I am sure we have all seen the trenches they have dug and how bad they were refilled. They dig across tarred roads and just replace them with soil. Their poles are haphazardly placed in front of people’s gates,” said Mothamaha.

Sub-contractors have vowed to go against the municipal manager’s directive and said they will continue with until they finish the first phase of the project.