It is believed that construction workers who were stationed at the Mpumalanga Fresh Produce Market have effectively stopped all traffic from operating on the R37, the road that connects Mbombela to Lydenburg.
Mpumalanga Fresh Produce: Updates on R37 road closure
According to reports, there has been no movement in getting the 80 trucks that have parked on the R37 and effectively blocking all traffic from passing by, to clear the way.
At least 80 trucks have blocked the R37 road in Mbombela #SABCNews
— Tumelo Machogo ® (@IamTumelo) October 2, 2019
Based on updates provided by journalist, Tumelo Machogo, the truck drivers have claimed that they have no direct connection to the protest action that has been led by construction workers from the Mpumalanga Fresh Produce Market.
Apparently, they only blocked the road to show solidarity to the construction workers and possibly avoid a situation where the protesters target their trucks.
The truck drivers say they block the road in solidarity and fear that the protesters will burn their trucks #SABCNews
— Tumelo Machogo ® (@IamTumelo) October 2, 2019
Why are the construction workers protesting?
While there is no confirmation on the side of the construction workers on why they have taken their frustrations to the streets, this is the second time the R37 road has been closed off due to protest action.
Coincidentally, in July, it was reported that construction workers from the Mpumalanga Fresh Produce Market had taken to the streets after they had not received their wages on time.
It is believed that the construction workers have, for an undisclosed period, been contracted by the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (Mega) to work on developing the Mpumalanga Fresh Produce Market.
According to the Low Velder, Mega had appointed ENZA Construction to build the top structures of the Mpumalanga Fresh Produce Market. Furthermore, Liviero Civils was recruited to install civil engineering bulk services such as water, sewer and road networks on the site.
However, months went by without the workers getting paid. The protests that broke out three months ago prompted negotiations between disgruntled workers and officials from Mega who, at the time, had promised to pay the construction workers their dues.
It is still too early to say that this is what has caused the protests that broke out on the R37, on Wednesday. This is a developing story.
The cost of construction has increased as data released by Statistics South Africa reveal construction price indices for March 2019, and the price index increased by 4,4% on the month to month rate in Contract Price Adjustment Provisions (CPAP).
Construction: What do the numbers mean?
These numbers prove the increasing cost of construction in the country, as the construction materials price indices have increased. Furthermore, in March the sector experienced a 6,6% increase caused by the producer price index of bituminous mixtures.
The producer price index for padlocks, clasps and keys also increased by a steady 5,2% for the month to month rate in this category.
The Construction Input Price Indices increased by 1,1%
The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa gained a 7,6% increase through the sale of 7,9mm copper rods.The data also proves that the index for total Construction Input Price Indices (CIPI) increased by 1,1% in the month to month rate, and this is brought by the civil engineering category.
In the same month of March, a visible 9,1% increase in civil engineering came through the construction input price index, for materials purchased through the category. The data also proves that mechanical and electrical engineering input price indices have respectively increased from March 2019 compared to data from March 2018.
The construction input price index for material purchases for the whole industry has reached 6,9% between March 2018 and 2019. The biggest contributor to that rate is the sales in sand which accumulated 13,9% in its’ category. The price index for mining, construction plant and equipment reached 5,8% accumulated through the prices of lorries, trucks and vans exceeding 3,5 tons.
Which province has the most affordable construction costs?
In 2018 Stats SA data, the North West was recorded to be the cheapest in construction costs in South Africa, while KwaZulu Natal was the most expensive. The second most affordable province is Limpopo coming in at R5 270 per m2. Thereafter, Mpumalanga comes in third sitting at R5 690 per m2.
Which province has the most expensive construction costs?
The second most expensive construction province is Gauteng at R7 870 per m2 followed by the Western Cape at R7 020 per m2. KwaZulu Natal still leads the pack as the province with the most expensive construction costs.
What causes the increase in construction costs?
The cost of the actual building materials increase the construction prices, items such as bricks, cement, timbre are taken into account.
Construction engineers have revealed that while it is difficult to stay in South Africa and contribute to the infrastructural growth of the country, their decision to apply their skills elsewhere is also motivated by what’s become known as the Construction Mafia.
It is already hard for Structural and Civil Engineers to get a permanent job in South Africa. The industry is in a state of accelerated decline and integrated cooperation from the government is still in its teething stages.
However, this is not the only reason why some engineers are taking their expertise to safer, more prominent countries.
Isaac Nkosi, the president of the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SAPCMP) spoke to Kieno Kammies on Cape Talk and revealed that there is a greater threat in the industry — Construction Mafia.
What is Construction Mafia?
According to Nkosi, his organisation has, on countless occasions, received reports of construction sites being held for ransom by armed gangs who would demand 30% of the cash flow received to run the construction operation.
The gangs, Nkosi stated, would force engineers to cough up ‘protection money’ after their site suffers setbacks due to targeted attacks led by the same gang.
“These people come through representing the local business forum where the project is happening. They would come in in the name of representing their members and the community, but what transpires there is this element of extortion.
“They say, give us the 30% cash now before you start the project,” Nkosi revealed.
Nkosi warned that the police’s failure to protect engineers only exacerbated issues as more and more professionals do not feel safe regarding seeking employment on projects in South Africa.
Nkosi did not indicate if there were any instances in the recent past where the so-called Mafia had claimed any lives for failure to make payment.
It’s been confirmed that three construction workers lost their lives on Monday evening after one of their trenches collapsed in on them during some routine maintenance. The work, which was being carried out in the Cape Town suburb of Table View, has been suspended on Tuesday.
— Horizon Intelligence (@_hozint) July 9, 2019
Table View construction accident – what we know so far:
Reports first filtered in during the evening rush hour that the trench occupied by the workers had suffered structural damage, where it fell into itself and buried the victims in sand. Nicky Rheeder is the local ward councillor for Table View, and the Ward 107 Facebook page she uses shared her condolences earlier this morning:
“Thank you to each and every Table View and Parklands Neighbourhood Watch member, Community Medics, Metro Rescue, Fire and Rescue, CoCt waste services, SAPS, Forensic Pathology and any others I may have left out.”
“Your support, assistance and hard work at the structural collapse in Sandown Rd was beyond incredible. All the victims were retrieved despite all the challenges. Thanks to everyone who donated drinks and sweets to keep the strength up of the fire and rescue teams. Our sincere condolences to the families of the victims.”
Ward 107 Facebook Page, Nicky Rheeder
The news was confirmed the City’s Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse. According to the chief, a collapsed wall was responsible for the tragedy:
“It was found that three persons were trapped in a trench as a result of the walls caving in. Fire Services, Metro and other agencies worked tirelessly throughout the night to recover the bodies. The bodies of three adult males were eventually recovered and the scene was handed over to SAPS.”
Cape Town traffic on Tuesday 9 July
It’s believed that two other workers were pulled from the rubble and have survived the incident. This has also had a major impact on commuter traffic in the area on Tuesday morning: Two well-populated routes have been shut down to the public while the authorities do what they can to clear the area:
- Sandown Road in Sunningdale is closed to traffic between Braselton Road and Sunningdale Drive.
- Basil Stone Road is closed in both directions.
- There’s been a knock-on effect, as traffic around Table View is getting congested already this morning.
Cape Town – Sunningdale: Sandown Road: Construction Incident near Builders Warehouse – ROAD CLOSED going east from the Sunningdale Road circle
— Rob Beezy (@TrafficSA) July 8, 2019
We’ve also been told that the City of Cape Town will be releasing an official statement on the matter soon, and a police investigation is now underway to forensically analyse the cause of the accident.