Public Works and Infrastructure Minister, Sihle Zikalala, has called on government officials to closely collaborate with contractors to guarantee that infrastructure projects are completed within the specified timelines and allocated budgets. Failure to deliver on these projects, he emphasized, would not only have financial implications for the department but also affect the individuals responsible for managing them.
Minister Zikalala made these remarks during the latest Siyahlola engagement, which took place in the North West town of Matlosana. He stressed the importance of officials diligently monitoring project progress, stating that projects do not fail spontaneously but often due to lax project management practices, which subsequently lead to delays and complications.
“The delays are often a result of a lack of coherent planning between our department and the client department. Our project managers must be more hands-on. Lengthy explanations for project delays do not suffice. We must be actively involved, and the department must deliver as expected,” said Zikalala during the engagement.
In an effort to enhance project oversight and coordination, Minister Zikalala indicated that all regional managers must be integrated into the technical structures of the District Development Model (DDM). This will allow them to have a clearer understanding of the planning and coordination processes taking place at all levels of government.
The Minister’s visit comes ahead of the second leg of the DDM Presidential Imbizo, scheduled for Friday, 20 October, at J.B. Marks Local Municipality in Dr. Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality. The DDM Presidential Imbizo is a critical initiative aimed at promoting communication and collaboration between government officials and local communities.
Accompanying Minister Zikalala at the event, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda District Executive Mayor, Nikiwe Num, pledged that district leadership would act as the Minister’s “ears and eyes” in overseeing project implementations. As part of the DDM initiative, impromptu site visits will be conducted to ensure projects progress smoothly, with any roadblocks promptly reported to the Minister.
Mayor Num stressed that sensitive projects, such as the Klerksdorp Correctional Centre, should not tolerate trial and error. The Klerksdorp Correctional Centre, a project with a budget of R94.4 million, encompasses a wide range of work, including construction, civil, electrical, and mechanical tasks. The project will also involve the replacement of site sewer reticulation, cold water mains, internal warm water piping, and irrigation water mains. Additionally, perimeter fencing will be replaced, with a project completion date set for 2025.
Meanwhile, the North West provincial government has highlighted that the DDM Imbizo aims to establish an interactive platform for President Cyril Ramaphosa, ministers, and provincial leaders to engage with communities and devise solutions to address the socio-economic challenges they face daily. The provincial government views the Imbizo as an opportunity to intensify service provision, foster social cohesion, and advance developmental programs that create economic opportunities for local residents.
In conclusion, Minister Sihle Zikalala’s call for enhanced project management and coordination underscores the South African government’s commitment to delivering projects on time and within budget. With a keen focus on the District Development Model and a dedication to maintaining project progress, the government aims to promote social cohesion and economic development throughout the region. The upcoming DDM Presidential Imbizo is expected to further strengthen these efforts, ensuring that projects benefit local communities and the country as a whole.