The Guard

The Truth On Board

New contractor to complete R26

By Masilo Malakwane

TWEELING – Free State Premier Sefora Ntombela has announced the engagement of a new contractor to complete construction of the R26 Road which was delayed by bickering between contractors.

Ntombela made this announcement during a site visit at Mafahlaneng Tweeling before Christmas.

This follows complains by the communities of Tweeling, Frankfort, Reitz and other surrounding towns who were instrumental in ensuring decisive action in is taken to complete the road which they described as a ‘death trap’.

Ntombela was accompanied by the MEC for Roads, Transport and Police, William Bulwane and Mafube local municipality Executive Mayor, Tlhoare Motsoeneng.

She presented a detailed progress report on the state of road construction projects and rehabilitation programmes on the roads.

“Infrastructure like roads has a very important role in job creation, economic development and overall safety of our people. We made a commitment to the people of the province in general and those of Tweeling in particular that before the end of 2021, work will start on these unfinished roads and that the appointed contractors will commence almost immediately,” she said.

Bulwane, said the province has prioritized the appointment of such engineers to assist with the long-term design solution of the road which requires capacity improvement this time.

From left Mafube executive mayor Tlhoare Motsoeneng, standing police roads and transport MEC William Bulwane and Premier Sisi Ntombela.

“In all the roads projects which have been approved for commencement of construction, many jobs will be created for local communities. We have made a commitment that a minimum of 30 percent must be local contractors and the process must be undertaken through a localised open bidding process, which will be monitored very closely,” Bulwane said.

For his part, Motsoeneng said the provincial government had been embroiled in a long court battle with the previous contractor.

“The battle started when the department terminated the services of the contractor due to poor performance and failure to deliver as expected. This is what led to the unnecessary delays to the construction of this road which is used by many of people daily.

A regular user of the pothole-riddled R26, Chester Zika, told The Guard that the construction is long overdue and that it has damaged his vehicles. “I have to buy new tyres frequently because of the potholes on this road. I am relieved our demands have been met.”