Minister Simmers appeals to Gugulethu community to report construction mafia
Yesterday, 1 June, the Western Cape Minister of Infrastructure Tertuis Simmers, visited the Luyolo Construction site in Gugulethu, which is one of three Airport Precinct infill sites, namely Tambo Village and Gxagxa. This visit follows the stoppage of all construction activities for several weeks, as a result of two separate shooting incidents, earlier this year. During these unfortunate incidents, two workers sustained gunshot wounds.
The project entered its 11th week of shut down and has resulted in loss of work productivity since 17 March, when the second shooting incident took place. The first incident occurred on February 28 at the Tambo Village site, which resulted on an imposed site closure for a week, to allow the necessary investigations to proceed as well as provide trauma counselling to the traumatised worked. It is believed that these incidents were preceded by acts of intimidation and threats at the sites by certain groups claiming to be representatives of an unknown business forum. To date, due to the site closures, the department has incurred financial losses amounting to R 8,560,000 and an opportunity to deliver more than 45 housing opportunities.
Minister Simmers made an appeal to the public and said: “I would like appeal to the community of greater Gugulethu to come forward and work together with the department and through their nominated Steering Committee to ensure that this project remains on track. To also assist the law enforcement agencies in apprehending these culprits, who seek to derail the progress of these at the detriment of the community who have long made known their need for these houses to be completed and handed over to the deserving beneficiaries. This project is intended to benefit the community from the greater Gugulethu who are the elderly, backyard dwellers, people living medically certified disabilities and for that reason we cannot allow anarchy to reign.”
“It is unfortunate that, a project that is envisaged to yield 729 housing opportunities, is now at risk of not materializing, as a result of a few individuals. We urge the citizens, that If anyone has knowledge of who these criminals are, kindly alert the authorities so that this criminal spree may be brought to an end and construction can continue uninterrupted and deliver the much needed houses.” added Simmers.
The department will continue to engage its stakeholders, contractor and law enforcement agencies as it seeks to find a solution and get construction work underway.
“As the Western Cape Government, we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient, safe and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society,” concluded Simmers.
Spokesperson for Minister Tertuis Simmers
Tel: 021 483 2872
Mobile: 061 447 7851
Director Communication & Stakeholder Relations
Tell: 021 483 2868
Mobile: 083 263 1720