The much awaited state of the art stadium in Lobatse is behind schedule.
Information reaching Sunday Standard is that the Stadium is behind by a month and the continuing torrential rains in the city might even make the situation worse.
The Chinese company that is undertaking the construction work says the delay is caused by the unavailability of the final plan for the stadium since they have the old one.
The senior official of Zhong Gan Engineering Construction Company told Sunday Standard that they are still waiting for the plan from the Department of Engineering and Building Services (DEBS) to push the bulk of the work. Junkavi Liu also added that they are expecting the plan anytime.
“For the past few weeks, it has been raining and it is making our work a bit difficult. We do not have the final plan from DEBS and we cannot undertake most of the work, but we are pushing the little we can,” he said when Sunday Standard visited the stadium last week.
Liu was, however, undeterred, promising to finish the project on time despite the delays. He said they will hand back the stadium next year in January as per agreement with the government.
“We would have to double our efforts to finish the stadium on time. We will work overtime even if it means working at night. Definitely, come January, the stadium will be complete,” he said.
Liu also said they buy most of their construction material from Botswana and the ones not available from South Africa, and even China. He emphasized that they have not been affected by globally escalating construction costs.
“We have not had any problem with the sky rocketing construction costs. The estimated cost is P130 Million and we are still working within that budget. Things would only change if something dramatic happens,” he said.
The refurbishment of the National Stadium shot by P200 Million from the estimated costs due to rising construction costs.
On the other hand, the Director of Sports and Recreation, Falcon Sedimo, told Sunday Standard that the delay is caused by the fact that they wanted to modernise the 20 000 capacity stadium.
He said initially the construction of the stadium was solely the work of Lobatse Town Council, but after the government got into partnership, they had to change the design, taking into consideration a variety of things. “After we came on board, we had to modify the stadium so that it meets international standards. We had to change some of the designs and that is why it is taking sometime to finalise the plan. But I am confident that everything will be in place sooner and even the construction company will finish on time,” he said.
Lobatse Stadium is situated on the outskirts of the city just between the hills and is seen as helping the development of the sport in the country. It would ease pressure from stadium like the National Stadium, University of Botswana, Otse Police College and Sir Seretse Khama Barracks. Currrently, there is a stadiums crisis as many stadium are closed for refurbishments and the most affected is the soccer fraternity.