The delay in the revamping of the Park Road Police Station in Bloemfontein has a very negative impact on service delivery.
This was revealed by MEC for Community Safety in the Free State, MaQueen Letsoha-Mathae. She was speaking during an oversight visit of incomplete government projects, conducted by Minister for Public Works and Infrastructure Sihle Zikalala.
The police station is the biggest station in the Free State. It is located around higher learning institutions where it’s utilized by many students residing in the area.
The facility has been unable to provide quality service delivery to the community for about six years, due to the delay of the completion of its construction. At inception the project cost the department R62 million. Residents explain their experiences at the facility.
“Remember these small projects are for young people as temporary jobs. So, people are out of jobs because of the project not ending and also the police were not able to do their job efficiently,” a resident says.
“The delay in the police station is making things worse in school, we find it difficult to submit things on the due date because of the delay in the police station,” another resident explains.
Letsoha-Mathae explains how the delay impacted service delivery.
“So, it really had a very negative impact, even on the personnel itself of SAPS, because most of the time you find that even during this delay, they were not able to serve the communities. When you have to come here for an affidavit, they had to wait somewhere there under the shelter, at the entrance, so it really affected us negatively in terms of service delivery. For instance, the other part where we were affected, it’s when we had to transport the detainees, because of the level of performance there, they had to go and detain there, so it really had a very, very negative impact, this delay of the project of Park Road. But what I’m happy about is that during our last meeting, the minister emphasized the issue of completion of projects.”
The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is unable to reveal tangible plans to make previous contractors account for not delivering and completing the police station on time.
Zikalala disclosed that the incomplete project is on its third contractor, who has been provided with R48 million. 73% of the work has been completed. Zikalala says he has undertaken a process of unlocking all delayed projects.
“We are satisfied, there are areas that have been done which are very good, there were baracks here, they’ve been upgraded into offices and that is good. But, if you go to cells, you will see they handed over those cells but they’re not satisfying and therefore there is what is good and at the same time there are things that are not good that needs to be corrected. we will ensure that the DBSA, which is our implementing agent here, do that and correct everything that is not in order,” says Zikalala.
The outstanding construction work at the facility is expected to be completed by October this year.
VIDEO: Minister Zikalala inspects unfinished and blocked projects in Free State