Bloemfontein contractor drags Mangaung metro to court over bus project

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The contentious relationship between the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and Bloemfontein contractors over the metro’s Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) has now moved to the Free State High Court.

Foko Motlatsi Phillimon (FMP) Contractors has dragged Mangaung Metro to court over its and other local businesses alleged exclusion from the metro’s IPTN Hauweng project. While High Court proceedings took place in Court Room F on Monday June 24, members of Mangaung Business Transformation Umbrella (Mabtu), of which FMP is a member, occupied the front entrance to the building holding up placards expressing their discontentment with the municipality. Mabtu Chairperson, Mzwandile Phaphu says they are angry because the Metro is awarding tenders to contractors from outside the province, when there are capable companies locally.

Phaphu says a number of local companies have high Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) gradings, including FMP and Black Civils, and he feels they should have been given an opportunity to be part of the project.

“They are overlooked because people from Vereeniging, people from Parys, people from Gauteng and Mpumalanga must come and take the money from the Free State and leave us poor. Why Free State people are you allowing that?” said angry Phaphu.

In May, the Metro met with disgruntled residents and business owners who threatened the launch of the project in Phahameng in April 2019.  They accused the municipality of excluding them and overlooking local contractors who wanted to be part of the project. Mayor, Olly Mlamleli, then promised to hold workshops to find ways to ensure that small businesses do benefit from construction work done for the project.

Meanwhile, Mangaung Metro spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, confirmed to OFM News in 2018 that Glad Africa & LTE was appointed as the service provider in the project in 2015. The company also listed Mangaung’s Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) as one of its projects on its website in 2016. The company, which has offices across the country, is responsible for the design and implementation of the project at a cost of around R5 billion.

OLEBOGENG MOTSE / OFM News