Murray & Roberts sets the record straight on Chapman's Peak
03 February 2012
Murray & Roberts confirms its support for the new toll plaza and operational centre at Chapman's Peak. This will replace the existing facilities, which are inappropriate for a world class tourist destination.
Chapman's Peak Drive is part of South Africa's heritage and is widely regarded as one of the most scenic stretches of road in the world. Unfortunately, in 1999 the pass was declared unsafe for use and was closed, requiring extensive repair and rehabilitation before it could be reopened to the public. The Western Cape Government decided that the most sensible way to fund the rehabilitation and maintenance of this iconic pass was through Public Private Partnership (PPP).
A consortium comprising Concor, Haw & Inglis and Marib, was selected in 2002 through a competitive bidding process to build, operate and transfer a PPP with the Provincial Government at Chapman's Peak Drive, which included the construction of all the associated works. Subsequent to this award, the Entilini Concession Company (Entilini) was established and Murray & Roberts acquired Concor in 2006.
In terms of the concession agreement, all required approvals, including environmental approvals, are the responsibility of the Western Cape Government, which on 26 January 2012 issued an instruction to Entilini that construction of the new facilities could commence, within the road reserve.
Murray & Roberts, which originated in the Western Cape in 1902, is committed to the sustainability of the environment, especially in those environments where we have an impact or influence. We respect all stakeholders' concerns. Entilini is bound to fulfil its obligations in terms of its concession agreement with the Western Cape Government and this toll road is needed for Chapman's Peak Drive to remain open, safe for use, clean and sustainable.
The users of Chapman's Peak Drive pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the pass which includes the rock fall protection measures, parking, picnic, lookout points and toilet facilities. Safety of the pass for local and international users is top priority. No deaths or serious injuries have been reported in the eight years of operation as a toll road since the upgraded safety measures were installed.
Contrary to public opinion, Entilini shareholders have to date not received any financial benefit from their shareholding in the company and its loan accounts remain unpaid, whilst Entilini has significant loans from financial institutions to be repaid.
The planned toll plaza at Koeëlbaai has an appropriate and small footprint, will not be visible from Hout Bay and has been designed to blend in with the surrounding environment. The current use of containers as temporary offices offers appalling working conditions to operational and maintenance staff and is inappropriate for a world class tourist destination. The planned control centre is designed to be functional, efficient and will provide dignified and secure working conditions for operational and maintenance staff.
We believe that due process has been followed by the Western Cape Government and that the new plaza and operational centre will be a significant aesthetic and functional improvement on the temporary facilities. We are committed to the long term sustainability of Chapman's Peak Drive.
Group Chief Executive