Delft housing project grinds to a halt

Sub-contractors demand higher rates

By Bernard Chiguvare

Construction on a housing project in Delft has been halted since Friday as sub-contractors demand higher rates from the construction company.

About 50 sub-contractors at an Asla construction site in Delft downed tools, claiming the rates paid by Asla were below rates paid by other contractors. They also demand that only sub-contractors from Delft should be employed.

Asla director Tony Byleveldt said no sub-contractors from outside Delft were employed. He said the company and the sub-contractors were in negotiations about rates.

The sub-contractors say they do not earn enough to pay their workers. They also do not provide building materials.

Nolitha Cishe, a resident of Delft, says she employs four bricklayers and four labourers. Asla pays her R5,000 per unit and from this she must pay her employees R4,500 per unit, she says.

“The rates they are paying are not realistic,” she says.

Bulelwa Jele, a ceilings contractor, says Asla pays her R250 per unit and she pays each of her three employees R120 per unit. "My guys are about to run away from me because they assume I am cheating them," she says. She wants a minimum of R900 per unit.

Roofing contractor Amanda Cloete says she has nine employees. She is paid R400 per unit and pays each employee R100 per unit.

She wants to be paid at least R1,800 per unit so that she can pay her employees “a living wage”.