Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Collapsing Bridges: Gov’t blames contractor’s poor workmanship

SHASHE MOOKE – The junior Minister at Local Government and Rural Development Frans Van Der Westhuizen has pleaded with contractors doing government projects to put more quality in their work and to be professional.

Speaking during the commissioning of the Shashe Mooke Bridge 10km from Francistown last week, he said government will not tolerate poor workmanship in projects implementation and cost overruns as limited financial resources do not permit any move for such poor practices. The commissioning of the bridge comes at a time when numerous other bridges collapsed across the country following recent rains. 

“With our scarce resources we need contractors who are vigilant and apply proper project management skills. I implore all contractors to do much better in all our projects as we continue to implement projects through Economic Stimulus Programme and those identified for the implementation in the coming National Development Plan11,” he said.

Giving a brief overview of the construction of Shashe Mooke Bridge, the Assistant Minister revealed that the project started when the country was still experiencing effects of the 2008 global recession. He said the government made a commitment to implement the project without compromising its quality. Van Der Westhuizen emphasized that construction of the bridge will change the face of Shashe Mooke village while facilitating economic activities which the country desperately needs.

“This project has eased the flow of road traffic and improved accessibility between the two localities now making it easier for the citizens of this country to now commute from Sashe Mooke to work in Francistown every day without having to relocate to Francistown,” he said.

The Assistant Minister said with this project, they are not only transforming the local economy and improving the lives of the people of Shashe Mooke and Francistown, but they are also transforming the prospects of the national economy. He said such a project will help reduce travelling time and improve the flow of trade. He further said that better infrastructure reduces travel  times and improves communications which is what a modern economy needs to grow. 

“Let me also turn to the district leadership and underline that governments across the world are now seeking to mobilize private funds, including using Public Private Partnerships to deliver infrastructure and public services so as to meet the huge demand for infrastructure financing,” he said.

He urged the local authorities to actively explore partnerships with private investors to undertake self-liquidating public projects to relieve government of the burden of spreading the limited resources to many projects. The Assistant Minister said for this to be achieved, there is need to create a conducive environment for investors to be comfortable in investing their money in such projects.

Van Der Westhuizen requested the people of Shashe Mooke village and Francistown to take good care of the infrastructure.

“In many instances when government puts an infrastructure like these, the public tend to think that it is government’s responsibility to look after them. I want to highlight to you that it is also your responsibility to make sure that facilities in your areas are well taken care of. These assets should be properly maintained so that they are beneficial to our future generations,” he said in conclusion.

The Shashe Mooke bridge project was constructed by Unik Construction a Chinese company and Global Consult, a citizen company who were project engineers. Construction commenced on 7th of January 2013 and was completed on the 6th of January 2014. The project was constructed at an amount of over P74 million. It employed 79 people during the construction phase, 60 citizens and 19 expatriates.

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