While work on the Waterworld upgrade project is still on hold and subcontractors and workers have gone without pay for three months, contractual disputes between the main contractor and Buffalo City Metropolitan Agency have still not been resolved.
On February 2, the GO! & Express reported that during January, workers at Waterworld protested on site regarding non-payment since November 2022.
BCMDA confirmed it had fulfilled its financial obligation to the main contractor, Mvusuludzo Projects, and that the latter was responsible for paying sub-contractors and general workers, however, that had not happened as far as the agency was aware.
Mvusuludzo Projects representative Albert Mulaudzi said the issue was more complex than stated by BCMDA, which was required to have met specific monthly financial obligations that were not adhered to late last year.
Mulaudzi said: “Mvusuludzo entered into a General Conditions of Contract [GCC] agreement with the development agency for a re-measurable works budget which is the main contract.
“Mvusuludzo thereafter entered into a subcontract agreements with subcontractors for various specialist services . . .
“In terms of the GCC, the development agency is obliged to issue payments to Mvusuludzo on a monthly basis and further to obtain additional funding for project completion if so required. The agency failed to timeously secure additional funding for the works, leading to late and or non-issue of payment certificates in favour of Mvusuludzo.
“Despite these challenges, Mvusuludzo continued to self-finance the project to a point whereupon it became a hugely unfeasible commercial risk.
“As a result, Mvusuludzo suspended works on site, triggering the dissatisfaction by subcontractors for lack of work and payment for work executed.”
BCMDA said in addition to payment issues, the geology of the site had posed a problem.
In response, Mulaudzi said:
“The issues faced by the parties are not new or uncommon in mega construction projects.
“It is therefore important to handle such matters with maturity and sensitivity regarding community interests.
“Mvusuludzo [has been] advised by the professional team that funding availability for the additional earthworks as a result of the site geology challenges as well as a budget for completion have been secured.
“In this regard, Mvusuludzo intends to lift its suspension once the sourced funding formalities are concluded.
“This entails the issue of a payment certificate in favour of Mvusuludzo.
“Mvusuludzo is committed to work with the agency to complete the project. A collaborate work arrangement is therefore required . . .”
Mvusuludzo Projects had said work would resume on site on February 6, but this has not happened.
BCMDA spokesperson Oyama Makalima said: “ BCMDA has provided comments on this previously.
“We can only provide further comments to the public once the situation is resolved.”