Construction camp still thorn in the side Print E-mail
News - Aktueel
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 23:24
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Bronberg residents are furious that their complaints about the construction workers camp on the Boschkop Road are being ignored. They complain about fence cutting and crime in the area, about workers bathing nude and urinating in public view, and about noise levels and smoke from fires in the camp.

In The Bronberger’s September edition we reported that residents are up in arms about the construction workers camp erected next to the Boschkop Road on plot 43, Zwavelpoort between Twana Lodge and the Quicksand Boma entertainment venue. The property where about 100 workers are accommodated in 20 corrugated iron huts belongs to Herman Marx, marketing director of Group 6, a contractor for Sable Homes.

Sable Homes’ project manager, Gerda Schoeman confirmed that Group 6 is doing work for Oukraal Developments in Hazeldean, but said that she couldn’t comment on the construction workers camp because it’s not situated on one of Sable Homes’ properties. Mike Strange, spokesperson for the Mooiplaats Safety Initiative (MSI), said that to date the MSI, which represents 103 households in the immediate vicinity, has not received a response to its frequent complaints from either Herman Marx or Group 6. Mike said that incidents such as fence cutting, perimeter alarm activations and theft have increased substantially since the camp was established. He said that Group 6 workers are not being blamed, but that the coincidence is noted.

Twana Lodge, which caters to international tourists, is right next to the construction workers camp. During a meeting with Twana Lodge, Herman Marx said that the camp was a temporary measure, two months maximum. Apparently Herman undertook to lessen the impact of the workers camp on Twana Lodge’s business by erecting proper fencing, visual screening, introducing access control and security guards, supplying water and refuse removal, and controlling noise levels and smoke pollution.

According to Mike these measures haven’t been taken yet. On the other side of the camp is the Quicksand Boma, a venue hired out to businesses and individuals for entertainment purposes. Its owner, Stef Botha, sent a fax to Group 6, rejecting the workers camp. At the time of going to press, Stef has received neither acknowledgement of the fax nor a response from Group 6.

The construction workers camp on the Boschkop Road between Twana Lodge and Quicksand Boma

MSI has convened a meeting with Group 6 to address the community’s concerns about the workers camp. Members of the Magalies- Bronberg Property Association (MBPA) were also present at the meeting. Group 6 was represented by Wynand Vorster who is, according to Mike, a junior project manager tasked to ‘fix’ the workers camp.

MSI aborted the meeting, stating that it was insulted by Group 6’s heavy-handed approach and disrespect for the community, and demanded an urgent meeting with Group 6 directors.

Herman Marx responded by saying that he was unwilling to attend a meeting with MSI, but would receive a delegation at his office. When trying to arrange this appointment, MSI was told that Group 6 would not receive a delegation, but would receive a letter from the community delivered by one person.

According to Mike, Herman claimed to have received permission from Kungwini Municipality to erect the camp temporarily.

MSI members said that there is insufficient or no water on the premises and that workers are regularly seen carrying water from the East Ridge Building Supply centre and Ryckor shopping complex. MSI members said that there are no refuse removal containers on site and that litter is blown around by the strong winds. Refuse is dumped on neighbouring properties, which are also used illegally as short-cuts, and fences are destroyed.

According to MSI members, workers don’t use the chemical toilets provided and have been observed urinating on the ground in view of passers-by. Human faeces are regularly found on neighbouring properties.

Members of the MSI have come to the conclusion that Group 6 has no intention of addressing any of the community’s concerns, and they reserve the right to take further action to rectify the situation.


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