Saturday, May 15, 2021

BDC relocation into unfinished building raises eyebrows

Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) set off shock waves earlier this month when it relocated its offices to an unfinished and newly built multimillion Fairscape Precint commercial building. Staff at the government investment arm is accusing senior management of negligence saying the building is not suitable or ready for occupancy. The building has some electric cables hanging from the ceiling while some sections of the building did not have ceiling at all. In some offices, ceramic tiles were still being fitted. Employees claim that BDC did not invite Gaborone City Council authorities to inspect the building before occupying it. “We are yet to be issued with a completion certificate. We have moved into the building illegally.

We have learnt that officials from GCC’s occupational health department were threatening to close down the building,” said one of the employees who spoke on condition of anonymity. While the BDC commercial Fairs cape Precinct located in Fairgrounds office park is now letting since from April 2014, for both retail and office space, Sunday Standard has learnt that the offices occupied by BDC are yet to be completed.

This comes after the Board of Director audit meeting found that there are serious beating for cost overruns on the corporation’s newly built multimillion Fairscape Precint commercial building. Following the meeting, the property development team was suspended. As a development financier, BDC has been instrumental in the sustained growth of the Property market, through its 100 percent owned properties, and partnerships. Its Property Division’s mandate is developing and managing residential, commercial, hotel and industrial properties for BDC. While Head of Marketing and Communications Boitshwarelo Lebang stated that “The Fairscape Precinct has a completion certificate that was issued by the City council,” some employees insist that such a certificate is yet to be issued.

“The building is ready for occupancy and other clients have already moved into Fairscape. We are in constant dialogue with the authorities to ensure that we meet all requirements ÔÇô current and future,” she said. Asked to comment on reports that the management was under pressure to move into the new building as a result of the Board’s findings, Lebang said “BDC ÔÇô through its subsidiaries ÔÇô owns both buildings (our old and new location) and we have agreed on a timetable with these subsidiaries for relocation.”

It is also understood that last week some of the suspended employees were called for a meeting that was supposed to be held at the new building but it was later called off despite the fact that they were there for two hours. When asked to comment on the matter, Lebang said BDC’s dealings and contractual issues with its employees are confidential and will not be shared with third parties. GCC Town Clerk Mpho Mathe said he was not in a position to state whether BDC was issued with a certificate as he was on leave. Mathe further noted that there were some government parastatals which had been exempted from being issued with a completion certificate by the Council authorities and he was also not in a position to say whether if BDC was among them.

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