Zimbali property saga: Work has resumed

Defying expectations workers are back on site racing to get the hotel ready for the World Cup.

Wessel Witthuhn, president - Africa & Indian Ocean for IFA Hotels & Resorts is not a man of many words, at least when it comes to talking to REW, but he is a man of his word. The last communication he sent us said "We are going to the press shortly and then you can read the news." According to an article in The Mercury on March 12, the news is good for IFA,  workers are back on site at the Fairmont Zimbali Resort Hotel and work is going ahead 24/7.

According to Witthuhn, about 80% of the subcontractors are back on site and IFA hopes for a ‘soft opening' in May, about a month before the World Cup starts and a "high profile grand opening" after the World Cup".

The subcontractors are back on site without principal contractor Liviero and project managers.

The relationship between IFA and Liviero broke down last year after a pay dispute between the two parties. When payment was not received by Liviero they gave notice in terms of the contract and when the notice period had expired, and payment was still not forthcoming, Liviero cancelled the contract. IFA says they cancelled the contract based on repudiation by Liviero. The case was heard in the PMB high court and judgement is expected in April.

So work is going ahead and IFA insiders are confident that come May, the development will be open for business. Most of the work still to be completed is interior stuff, landscaping and fixing water damage. This damage and the dispute have already caused the postponement of the original opening date and fears that the hotel would not be ready for the World Cup. But it appears even without a project manager/principle agent on site IFA is confident about finishing in time for the Soccer World Cup said Witthuhn ‘We anticipate full bookings during the event."

Liviero also took umbrage at recent media reports that claim that Liviero unlawfully blocked access to the construction site last August. In a release sent out by Liviero it claimed that "this is patently untrue. At no stage did Liviero ever prevent access to the site by locking the gates. When IFA failed to make payment on the two certificates Liviero simply implemented measures to control (not prevent) access out of fear that some of the subcontractors and their staff might take matters into their own hands as news of the non-payment spread.

"IFA then applied for an interdict restraining Liviero from preventing access by locking the gates. We immediately responded in the form of a letter disputing these allegations and the need for the interdict."

So while IFA and Liviero still can't play nice, work goes on and we await the opening in May.

*Realestateweb columnist Barry Washkansky is based in Cape Town. Barry's first job was selling property in the Woodstock area of Cape Town where he sold to many a hippy, professor and first time-home buyer. He now sticks to writing, mostly about property, in particular auctions.


Article from: www.realestateweb.co.za