Botswana: Minister Cautions Against Project Delay

Charles Hill — Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr Thulagano Segokgo has cautioned contractors to ensure that they deliver projects on time and within budget.

Speaking during a meeting with contractors before touring the Charleshill-Ncojane road, Mr Segokgo said it had come to his attention that the P463 million project, which started in 2015, and expected to have been completed within 36 months, has not been completed as scheduled.

He said the project had exceed the completion time and that it called for more funds to be injected. He said he was hopeful their meeting would encourage both the client and the contractor to find common ground going forward.

He noted that failure to deliver projects on time hindered government's commitment to deliver on its obligations.

Minister Segokgo said if projects were completed within budget and time, it meant that additional funds needed to complete delayed projects could be channeled to kick-start other developments in other areas.

In his welcome remarks, Ghanzi council chairperson, Mr Thato Tshweneyagae said they appreciated the Charles Hill-Ncojane road project as it had eased movement between the two villages.

He said the project brought benefits to local communities since job opportunities were created. He also noted that there was transfer and acquisition of skills in the construction industry, and that some were able to have a source of income due to rentals. He also noted that transportation of cattle to slaughtering areas had been eased.

Mr Tshweneyagae pleaded with the ministry to consider gravelling the Ncojane-Ukhwi road to ease movement between the Ghanzi constituency and Kgalagadi North constituency.

Other roads that he pleaded to be graveled included Ncaang-Metsimantsho, Makunda-New Xanagas, Metsimantsho-Tsootsha, saying the road improvements would ease movement between the villages.

Ministry of Transport and Communications roads engineer, Mr Letlhogela Radipata said the project was scheduled to be completed in 36 months, and that the first six months were allocated to design of the project which ended in March 2016.

He said the main works was 104km and that due to other additionals such as access roads and bus stops the work scope increased to 109km. He added that so far 96km of the road had been sealed.

He blamed the delay on frequent breakdown of machinery and the Kgalagadi sand that he said was challenging to use in construction and other contractual issues that he said led to the stoppage of the project for some time.

For his part, Zac Construction managing director, Mr Nicholas Zakhem pointed out that the contractor was committed to the job. However, he said there were some stumbling blocks that hindered their deliverance.

He cited issues such as delayed payment from the client, lack of supervision from the consultants and the client, legal matters and lack of bitumen due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

He said they were unable to source bitumen from their external suppliers and fuel shortage.

He pleaded with the minister to ensure that all due processes were followed in the tender awarding process and that all required personnel such as engineers were appointed on time to ensure smooth completion of projects on time and budget.

In his closing remarks, Member of Parliament for Ghanzi South, Mr Motsamai Motsamai pleaded with the minister to iron out the differences with the contractors and map the way forward to ensure the project was completed and handed over to the communities.

He also encouraged the contactors to ensure that they kept up to speed with their employees' payments to avoid unending labour issues.

Source: BOPA

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