Sunday, March 3, 2024

Masisi’s cabinet fighting over big water tenders

Deep differences are stalking President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s cabinet as a result of big contracts related to water infrastructure.

It would seem like cabinet ministers have already lined up behind different contractors.

At the centre of it all are contractors Khato Civils and CCC.

At stake is the P20 billion allocated for water infrastructure under the National Development Plan 11.

The differences between ministers are so deep that they have started not only to polarize cabinet but also paralyze it and make reaching decisions almost impossible.

A section of members of cabinet want Government to do a P8 billion North South Carrier 2.

These cabinet ministers are behind CCC.

Another is of the view that given water scarcity in the south of the country, a hundred kilometer section from Masama would be ideal.

This would cost Government P800 million, delivered in eight months and would deliver all water needed in areas like Lobatse, Barolong, Mochudi, Molepolole, Thamaga, Kanye and Moshupa.

These ministers favour Khato Civils.

As a result of the paralysis, water that should have long been carried from the north to the south remains untapped and the people who need it most go without water.

Not only that, the infrastructure that was built like pump stations all the way from Mahalapye to Barolong remains complete but idle.

“In the Barolong areas alone, there is P4 billion worth of water infrastructure that remains idle, waiting for water to come from the north,” a source close to the developments.

He added that it is possible that some people have received kicks backs upfront.

A few years back, government took a decision to sink a cluster of boreholes at Masama.

The boreholes were supposed to add 64 cubic of water to the Greater Gaborone.

The project has long been completed, but the water has not yet been connected to the main pipe taking water to Gaborone.

Also blamed is the small but very powerful and strategic unit called Project Management Organisation (PMO). The PMO is alleged to be a pawn used by a coterie of powerful ministers to have full control of the billions of pula worth of tenders ear marked for water developments.

While other parastatals are allowed to implement and roll out their own projects after being financed, that is not the case with Water Utilities Corporation.

“As a result WUC is a lame duck, at the mercy of PMO that is accountable only to a few members of cabinet.”

President Masisi was supposed to intervene to call his cabinet to stop fighting over tenders.

When he became President, Masisi had said ministers should not be involved in tenders, no matter how benign.


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