The Ministry of Local Government is lost for words as to how a local company was awarded a 15 year contract to carry out maintenance for Gaborone City Council (GCC). The contract, for installation and maintenance of streetlights in Gaborone, was awarded to Acute Engineering Property Limited on July 13, 2017.
The Assistant Minister of Local Government Botlogile Tshireletso admitted to parliament this past week that the awarding of the 15 year contract by the GCC had raised eyebrows within her ministry.
“Though procurement was done through an open tender, the duration of the contract has also drawn my attention and I have directed my officials to examine the contract and I shall revert to the Honourable Member in due course,” Tshireletso said when answering a question from Gaborone North Member of Parliament Haskins Nkaigwa. “We have enquired from the Gaborone City Council and they informed us that the company’s performance is currently satisfactory.”
According to the contract, Acute Engineering Property Limited has been given responsibility to maintain streetlights along major roads while the GCC maintains streetlights within residential areas through its in-house maintenance teams.
Tshireletso said while some parts of the city remain dark due to budget constraints, theft, vandalism and old infrastructure information from the GCC, who are the direct supervisors of the contractor, indicates they are satisfied with the capacity of the contractor.
“However, as I have already indicated, I will cause the matter to be investigated.” Nkaigwa had asked the Assistant Minister if she was aware of a company that was awarded a tender for the installation and maintenance of street lighting in Gaborone for 15 years and if so, to state the name of the company and how their services were procured. He also questioned the performance of the said company, how the company was awarded such a tender despite its lack of capacity and if the Assistant Minister was aware that as a result, Gaborone was a dark city. “Speaking to Sunday Standard Nkaigwa said the company was getting paid on a monthly basis by the City Council despite failure to carry out its responsibilities. He said the 15 year maintenance and installation contract was totally against local procurement practices. Councilor for Gaborone Block 9 Sesupo Jacobs said they, together with fellow councilors, had been enquiring about the procurement process that led to the awarding of the lengthy contract but without much success. He told Sunday Standard the company had been awarded multiple GCC tenders. Efforts to get answers from the Town Clerk Lebuile Israel drew a blank as he said he still had to make enquiries on the matter.