Work on Pretoria square comes to a halt
Development at Lilian Ngoyi Square (formerly Strijdom Square) has ground to a halt and businesses in the CBD want answers.
Construction workers on the project - which provides for a tourism market - have moved from the site on the corner of Lilian Ngoyi (Van der Walt) and Helen Joseph (Church) streets.
A view across the square towards the State Theatre and Reserve Bank building.
The Inner City Improvement District (ICID) wants to know why the development - which was initiated by the Tshwane Metro Council and then taken over by the province - has stopped.
ICID president Salim Yousuf said executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa must intervene and find the causes of the delay in the completion of the project.
He said they raised concerns regarding the Lilian Ngoyi development before, with no success.
"Perhaps it is time (Ramokgopa) stepped in to resolve the matter," he said.
The municipality resolved in 2007 to establish a cultural tourist market on the square.
The initial plans included the transformation of the State Theatre side into an African foods restaurant featuring a park and facilities where patrons can enjoy their food.
The Helen Joseph (Church Street) and Lilian Ngoyi (Van der Walt), streets sides were to be transformed sites for the African market and informal traders. The horse sculpture was relocated to the University of Pretoria, but, according to a report tabled at the council's monthly meeting last month, the project has faltered.
According to the report, after the development was conceptualised and planned, the Gauteng provincial government decided not to transfer the funds for the project to the metro council and decided to take over the implementation of the project management, budget and procurement process. "Since the implementation of the project, there has been a lot of disruptions due to changing professional teams, design variations, nonpayment for the contractor, sub-contractors and labourers," it was stated in the report.
Although it's an Extended Public Works Programme initiative, the council report said no training had been conducted.
"The effect of the delays is felt directly by surrounding businesses and pressure is being put on the city to intervene and facilitate the project for the province.
"The contractor, CLO (community liaison officer) and business do not see the difference in government spheres and expect that the city is accountable for providing answers to their problems," the report stated.
One of the problems highlighted in the report is the fact that the project manager is based in Joburg and cannot attend to problems as they crop up.
"Challenges experienced are administrative and require a project manager who is accessible, responsive and action-oriented. The city is unfortunately unable to resolve the issues outlined due to the problem not being under our control and management.
"As a result of this, the city needs to take over the implementation of this project," the report said.
Attempts to get comment from the metro council and the province's Infrastructure Development Department were unsuccessful.