The Member of Parliament for Jwaneng/Mabutsane, Mephato Reatile, has taken up the issue of the Development Manager being sought by the Ministry of Transport and Public Works in parliament two days after Sunday Standard broke the story.
Ahead of implementation of the Transitional National Development Plan, the ministry has sought the services of a Development Manager who will oversee the implementation of 77 project worth a combined total of P13.2 billion. Even before the manager is appointed, tongues are already wagging. A Request for Expression of Interest (REI) for the services of the Development Manager that has been floated by the Ministry says that the qualifying company must have received at least P2 billion in “certified payments” over the past five years and that its cash flow over the past three years should be a minimum of P2 million per month or equivalent.
More than anything else, it is the latter condition, which the REI describes as “capability or financial strength” and will be awarded 20 marks, that has set tongues wagging. Some within the infrastructure and built-environment sectors are convinced that this condition has been tailor-made for a South African company with links to a Botswana Democratic Party bigwig.
In answering Reatile’s question, the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Eric Molale would not say whether a local or foreign company would ultimately be appointed.
“Provisions of the Public Procurement Act, the Economic Inclusion Act will be fully applied including local preferences. If the Development Manager is foreign, he will develop skills locally such that the requisite expertise is developed locally,” the minister said.
He added that the government has identified the use of the Development Manager model as one of the ways of enhancing project delivery as well as cushioning itself from financial risks associated with project implementation. Apparently, this is not the first time that the government will use the services of a Development Manager. One such instance, which Molale mentioned in a different context last year at an event organised by the Engineering Registration Board, was when government pool houses were built in Kgale View, Gaborone in the early 1990s. Time Projects was the Development Manager for this project. At the ERB event, as in parliament last week, the minister was keen to stress that the Kgale View houses were built “in record time”, to a high standard and that the payback period was whittled down from 15 to five years.
The tender for the Development Manager, which is closed, is scheduled to close this coming Friday.