Deputy Minister inspects construction sites

By Gabi Khumalo

Johannesburg - Deputy Minister of Public Works Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu on Sunday visited construction projects at a correctional facility and a police station to check on the progress made.

The visits formed part of the annual National Construction Week which kicked of today. The week is coordinated by the department to showcase the role and contribution of the construction industry in the Reconstruction and Development Programme of Government.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu first visited the Boksburg Correctional Facility to check on the progress of a R28 million project aimed at repairing and maintaining the mechanical and electrical installations inside the facility.

Among the equipment which are being fixed and repair at the correctional facility include boilers, steam pipes, generators, security fencing, kitchen, laundry and workshop equipments, intercom system as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

Through the project over 27 youth are employed and are being trained in various specialised trades as part of government's job creation and skills development initiative under the Expanded Public Works Programme and National Youth Service.

The project, which started in November 2008, is expected to be completed ahead of schedule in 2011.

Speaking to BuaNews after the visit at Boksburg Correctional Facility, Ms Bogopane-Zulu said she was happy with the progress of the project especially that it is expected to be completed ahead of the time scheduled.

"I'm happy with the progress and seeing that we have met the score target by employing young people including young women. I was also impressed with the construction of a separated kitchen for juveniles, which means that we are beginning to comply with the law.

"The other thing, which touched me was to learn that the old equipment was not being stored at the storeroom but donated to a nearby hospice for other people to benefit since it still in working condition," she said.

She also encouraged the project managers to ensure that while they do repairs on electrical mechanical, they establish green buildings to save energy.

Deputy Minister of Correctional Services Hlengiwe Mkhize said the department appreciates the Public Works services since the department is faced with challenges such as overcrowding which leads broken equipment.

"I hope the visit and the project will address the challenges we are facing regarding the repairs and maintenance of equipment," Ms Mkhize said.

Following the visit at Boksburg, the Deputy Minister visited a construction project at Diepsloot Police Station.

The theme for this year's National Construction Week is "Construction industry lays a concrete foundation for the era of renewal".

The theme appropriates with the recognition of the significance of the construction industry in job creation, job retention and heightened contribution to the Gross Domestic Product amidst the gloomy global economic outlook.

Activities to take place during the construction week will include the Youth in Construction Exhibition, Constructor Awards and Career Guidance Workshops.

- BuaNews