Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Controversial Tshesebe – Masunga road project finally takes off

Construction of the long awaited Tshesebe-Masunga road has finally begun after government engaged a new contractor, Landmark Projects (Pty) Ltd and Van and Truck Hire (Pty) Ltd joint venture to complete the works. These joint ventures are 100 percent citizen owned companies. Last week Friday the Ministry of Transport and Communications held a stakeholder meeting in Masunga village to present the new contractor to the local authorities from various villages of the North East District.

The 22.5 km road project which includes 28.71km access roads attracted controversy after Bash Carriers, a company that was initially awarded the tender in 2017 failed to deliver on its contractual obligations. The failed contractor had started construction of the road early in 2017 and it was to be completed within 18 months but was stopped in 2018 due to non-performance.
The Public Procurement Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) then approved a selective bidding for the appointment of a new contractor. The bidding process was completed and the bid evaluation report was done and submitted to PPADB in May 2019. The project was awarded by PPDAB to Bango Trading and Zebra Construction joint venture. The matter ended up in court after the other bidders Landmark Projects (Pty) Ltd and Van and Truck Hire (Pty) Ltd joint venture challenged the factors and processes followed to award the tender. The matter ended up at the Court of Appeal where it ruled that the contract be awarded to Landmark Projects (Pty) Ltd and Van and Truck Hire (Pty) Ltd joint venture on the 7th of May 2021. PPADB finalized the award to Landmark Projects (Pty) Ltd and Van and Truck Hire (Pty) Ltd joint venture on the 27th of May 2021. The project is expected to cost over P300 million

Giving a brief overview of the project the Project Consultant Rajesh Kumar from Rites Afrika in Association with Pula Consultant said construction of these roads will have access roads to various villages. The access roads will include among others, Masunga – Letsholathebe, Mosojane-Mulambakwena and Masunga- Kgari villages. Kumar revealed that the project is scheduled to complete on the 17th of June 2023.

“There will be one month mobilization period and a 12 months defect liability. The main road is 22.5 km while access roads will be 28.71 km. Land has been fully acquired for the project and the site has been handed to the contractor. Botswana Power Corporation has relocated all its services to pave way for the project and Water Utilities Corporation is still doing so as we speak,” he said.

Kumar assured the residents that the contractor will not compromise quality but deliver the project on time and budget. He said they are equally determined to see developments in the area.

Mosojane village councilor Mbaakanyi Smarts pleaded with the new contractor to fulfill its contractual obligations and not disappoint them as the previous one. He encouraged the contractor to pay those who are affected by the relocations well on time. Mbaakanyi expressed happiness saying that the project will bring employment opportunities especially for the youth.

“I hope the Department of Labour will also be taken on board regarding employment issues. I also want the government to improve on consultation,” he said.

The Village Development Committee (VDC) Chairperson at Kgari village Thomas Chabalala also shared the same sentiments and emphasized that the contractors should pay those residents whose property will be affected or damaged during construction fairly.

“My worry is that even if there is compensation for damage of property due to construction, the compensation does not fairly reflect the damage caused. It happened during the previous contractor,” he said.

Responding to some of the comments, the Acting Deputy Director of Roads Kgakgamatso Kalasi agreed that working hand in hand with the local authorities through consultation is very important as it is important in attaining good service delivery. She however took issue with the fact that some of those who claim for damages to property disproportionally demand unreasonable amounts of money.

“We have situations where some of those who claim for damages demand unreasonable amounts of money,” she said.

In his response, Kumar assured the residents that they will fulfill their obligations as expected of them.


Read this week's paper