15 March 2013

Namibia: Controversy Dogs Karasburg Road Project

RESIDENTS of Karasburg have called on the local council to suspend work on a road-construction project, citing alleged poor work quality.

At a community meeting this week, residents also questioned the bidding process which awarded the N$265 930 tender to Nauseb Trading Enterprises.

They are also unhappy that the company is using the council's earth-moving equipment and drivers in the project.

"It seems that the company does not even own a light vehicle, since people working for it came with their suitcases only to Karasburg," said one resident.

The company has completed a 500-metre stretch of the 1,5-kilometre road since it began working four weeks ago.

The council's chief executive officer, Eberhardt Kaitjindi, admitted that the council provided the company with equipment, including a tipper truck and excavator.

However, he was quick to add that the council was billing the company for using its equipment and workers. Up to now the company has paid N$50 000 for using the council's equipment, said Kaitjindi.

Asked whether the tender agreement provided for the renting of council equipment to the successful bidder, Kaitjindi said: "No, but the council agreed to lease out the construction equipment and workers to generate extra income."

Kaitjindi said the company indicated that it would be too costly to transport its own equipment to Karasburg.

Commenting on residents' complaints about poor quality work by the contractor, Kaitjindi said the council enlisted the service of Seal Consulting Engineers to assess the quality of work.

"Since we have entered into a binding agreement with the company, we cannot just halt the construction work," Kaitjindi said in response to residents' calls to halt the project.

A shareholder of Nauseb Trading Enterprise, Zandre Haimbondi, said the company was doing the job as stipulated in the tender specifications.

"It happens that we got the small tender, now the locals want to score cheap political points with baseless allegations," Haimbondi said angrily.

At the meeting, the residents also rejected any plans by the council to renew an exclusive 15-year power supply contract with the Southern Electricity Company (SELCo).

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