Building contractors and community members surrounding the R1bn Mpumalanga fresh produce market closed the R37 road connecting Mbombela and Limpopo on Wednesday morning.
The contractors, mostly from Mataffin and Msholozi villages, say they cannot wait for the project to finish and leave them poor like the building of the R1.2bn Mbombela stadium did.
They barricaded the R37 road using over 20 trucks which they took from drivers who were passing by from 6am to 9.30am on Wednesday, leading to the road being completely closed.
“They started with the construction of the Mbombela stadium and looted money without including us as local businesses from the community of Mataffin and Msholozi, now they are doing the same with the fresh produce market,” said community member Andrew Lekhuleni.
“This main constructor fired 65 young people who were working here as general workers and now they are removing companies owned by local people to replace them with their friends’ companies. That can’t happen on our watch.”
Spokesperson for the department of economic development Mohau Ramodibe said: “As government we may not be happy when local companies don’t benefit in this project hence the MEC has gone to meet the stakeholders to discuss the issue.
“As we speak the MEC is meeting the City of Mbombela representatives, main contractor and also the subcontractors concerned. By the end of this week we will have reached a consensus on what’s the way forward,” said Ramodibe.