Parliamentary committees shocked by shoddy workmanship at Kimberley lodge

Parliamentary committees, after an oversight visit to the Northern Cape, have expressed concern over a Kimberley lodge, built as an investment initiative of the department of tourism, having been “rendered useless”.

The Platfontein Lodge and Conference Centre situated about 15km outside Kimberley, offered a range of high-end hospitality services and accommodation.

Last week the select committee on trade and industry, economic development, small business development, tourism, employment and labour and select committee on transport, public service and administration and public works and infrastructure concluded a weeklong oversight visit to investigate issues undermining the Northern Cape’s economic recovery plan.

On an inspection tour of the lodge they discovered it had been built on unstable soil and the foundation was of poor quality.

“While the committees acknowledge the efforts that have been made to remedy the defects in the foundation, they remain concerned that this will require additional funding from fiscus which is already stretched.

“According to the committees, these challenges could have been identified at the planning phase of the project and proper mitigation measures put in place,” said trade select committee chairperson Mandla Rayi.

The committees found the closure of the lodge was in direct conflict with plans for it to be an economic opportunity by attracting business in conferencing from Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Rayi said another negative implication was that employees would now be denied the opportunity to participate in the business venture, so the department of tourism was instructed to speed up work to get the lodge operational again.

Transport and public service select committee chairperson Kenneth Mmoiemang said another concern was that the Sol Plaatjie municipality’s water infrastructure had lost an estimated 1.3 million litres of water due to a leak at a waterpoint near the lodge.

This had led to further damage to the R31 portion at Platfontein Road that had become another problem in need of urgent attention.

The Northern Cape provincial government told the MPs it has already written to the national department of transport for the SA National Roads Agency to take responsibility for the R31, to ensure that necessary investments are made to rehabilitate the road.