Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  21 Jan 2009

CONSTRUCTION: Irresponsible Contractor Runs Amuck


Recent Western Cape Business News

Yet another essential component of Cape Town's electricity infrastructure has been damaged by negligent and irresponsible contractors engaged in unsanctioned building/construction activities in the city.

In August last year, 132 000 volt underground feeder cables were badly damaged in Woodstock by a heavy earthmoving vehicle working on an apartment block construction site without a wayleave. Repairs cost

R332 000,00.

This time, a 132 000 volt underground cable, that supplies Woodstock, Vredehoek and Gardens with electricity, was damaged by a contractor who wilfully ignored the City’s by-laws and wayleave requirements, as well as repeated requests to follow the City process formulated to protect the public and the infrastructure that serves our citizens.

Contractors are required to submit plans whenever potentially damaging construction work takes place close to the City’s infrastructure, such as electrical cables, water mains and overhead lines, or where high voltage cables and lines pose a health or safety risk. After due consideration and prescription of necessary safety precautions, a wayleave and a permit are issued - and only then may the work commence.

Where high voltage cables may be affected, an appropriate, refundable deposit is often required of the contractor to cover potential repair costs. These deposits then serve as an effective reminder to the contractor to exercise the necessary vigilance during the execution of the work.

Last week, a contractor working at the Oriental Plaza complex, Sydney Road, damaged a cable. This despite repeated requests from Electricity Services officials to follow the due process of applying for a wayleave.

“The consequences of his action are a severely compromised electricity supply to that area, repair costs estimated to be in excess of half a million rand and interrupted construction work,” says Marius van der Westhuizen, Manager : Infrastructure Management.

“For his actions the contractor has been fined, all construction work has been halted and he will have to foot a huge repair bill. The City is considering further steps,” van der Westhuizen added.

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