Millions spent but seven years later this sports complex is still incomplete

Residents say the Kokstad complex is built in a wetland and “doomed”

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At least R24-million, and perhaps as much as R50-million, has already been spent over the past seven years on construction of Jim Payne Sport Complex in Kokstad, KwaZulu-Natal, but it is still not complete. Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

At least R24-million has already been spent over the past seven years on construction of Jim Payne Sport Complex in Kokstad, KwaZulu-Natal, but it is still not complete.

In November 2023, the Greater Kokstad Local Municipality advertised yet another tender to complete the complex. The closing date was December, but this has been postponed to this Friday, 8 March 2024.

It involves the design, manufacturing and delivery of a lifeguard tower, construction of spectator stands for the sports arena and for the swimming pool area, and a ladder and starting blocks for the pool.

Construction started in March 2017, with Andimahle Trading Enterprise CC, awarded a R12-million tender to provide change rooms, a grass soccer pitch, swimming pool, paved parking lot, bulk water, sewer and storm drain infrastructure and perimeter fencing.

Municipality spokesperson Zolani Siqwayi said the project was suspended because construction commenced without a completed Environmental Impact Assessment process. This took nine months.

In January 2018, Andimahle returned to the site, but R5.5-million later, their contract was terminated in 2019 over “contractual matters”.

Company owner Londiwe Ngcobo referred us to attorney Mohamed Mota. He said the matter was settled in terms of a consent order under a private and confidential arbitration process, and that is all he is able to disclose without the consent of the other parties.

Siqwayi says the matter was settled.

In January 2020, a second contractor, Siyazama Housing CC, was awarded a R15.5-million contract. Now, four years later, the project remains incomplete.

Siqwayi said Siyazama is attending to a snag list before a completion certificate can be issued.

The municipality’s advertising for the latest tender has drawn the ire of residents, ratepayers and opposition parties.

The Democratic Alliance claims R55-million has been spent and it wants a probe.

DA Greater Kokstad caucus leader Bradwyn Marnce said the complex is built in a wetland and “doomed to fail”.

“The sad part about this is that residents did warn the former mayor not to build the facility on that land, but he refused to listen to people,” said Marnce.

Former mayor Beki Mtolo referred our questions to the municipality.

Residents say the complex floods in the rainy seasons and they worry the buildings will rot and collapse.

When we visited, the area appeared dry, but the guard refused us entry.

Kokstad ratepayers chairperson Rudolf Erasmus said the municipality has wasted R50-million building a sports complex in a wetland against the wishes and warnings of the community.

Update on 2024-05-14 10:09

The article was updated with a response from attorney Mohamed Mota.

TOPICS:  Local government Sport

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