Aveng and Strabag International on Thursday reasserted that the Aveng-Strabag Joint Venture (ASJV) had terminated the Mtentu river bridge contract as a result of force majeure, adding in a statement that the termination “had nothing to do with either of the ASJV members’ financial ability to perform their obligations”.
Contesting allegations by Sanral that the JV may have terminated the contract owing to the financial difficulties being faced by Aveng, the JV reiterated that the ASJV had terminated the contract following civil unrest, commotion, protests and threats of harm that resulted in ASJV being denied access to the site and the ability to safely continue the execution of the project.
ASJV further added that the gravity and unprecedented nature of the situation was acknowledged by Sanral.
“The ASJV at all times emphasised that the force majeure event could not be considered to have come to an end until such time as the works could be safely resumed without consistent or continued endangerment of personnel or interruption of activities,” the statement said on Thursday.
According to the statement, either party had the right to terminate the Mtentu contract if a force majeure event prevented the execution of substantially all of the works in progress for a period of 84 days and/or if events or circumstances outside the control of the parties made it unlawful or impossible for the contractor to fulfil its obligations.
The Mtentu contract includes comprehensive dispute resolution provisions including final determination by the High Court.
The construction of the bridge would have resulted in a 1 132-m-long bridge crossing the Mtentu river, for the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), under the now-terminated Mtentu contract.