Some legislators aligned to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) have called for blacklisting of construction companies belonging to Chinese nationals.
Debating the budget of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology this week, the MPs were unanimous that most Chinese construction companies have a reputation for delivering substandard projects.
“Chinese construction companies should be blacklisted but do not blacklist all; just remove those that have delivered poor work,” said Francistown West MP Tshelang Masisi.
He said that consultants who are supposed to be inspecting projects are sleeping on the job. He cited the Shakawe Senior School that he said has been poorly constructed as an indication that consultants were failing in their task.
Masisi said that it was time for government to reserve tenders and mega projects for local companies.
Concurring with Masisi, the Minister of Lands and Housing, Lebonaamang Mokalake, also agreed that consultants engaged to supervise the projects should also be penalized.
“As we take action against Contractors, we should also not turn a blind eye to Architects and Consultants who are supposed to supervise the projects,” said Mokalake.
He added that government should consider introducing regulations to bar those that win tender bids from selling or subcontracting to those that have lost the tender.
He complained that a lot of local companies that win tenders eventually sell the job to other construction companies hence the shoddy work, adding that there was a general lack of accountability.
“Consultants are forgetting who is paying their bills, is it the client or the contractor?”
questioned Member of Parliament For South East North, Olebile Gaborone. “It is prudent to blacklist companies that thrive on fraud.”
Gaborone said that Botswana is stuck with some Chinese companies that are doing shoddy work merely because Botswana has benefited from loans from the Chinese government.
“We should be careful about the soft loans which come with strings attached,” said Gaborone.
He added that China was using its liquidity to find employment for its citizens abroad.
Also commenting on the budget, Palapye MP Moiseraele Goya said that the blacklisting of companies should extend to company directors.
“The blacklisting should extend to individuals so that once they form another company they are prohibited from getting another government tender,” said Goya.