Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Phiri calls out competitors’ smear campaign

Kato Civils Chairperson Simbi Phiri this week pushed back against what he termed a “litany of smear campaigns” in South Africa, Botswana and Malawi.”

Officially opening the Khato Civils official headquarters, located in Samrand, Gauteng on Friday, Phiri was quoted by Engineering News saying the company has expanded its operations to Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Namibia and aims to have 80% of its business operations on the continent.

He added that the coming year would be challenging, pointing out that the company has experienced what he called a “litany of smear campaigns” in South Africa, Botswana and Malawi.

Khato Civils recently had eight of its bank accounts in Botswana frozen. Phiri told Engineering News that this was owing to rivals trying to push the company out of Botswana and remove it from competing in bids for a key strategic water project.

During a recent severe drought that led to drastic water shortages in Gaborone, government opened a tender for a water pipeline from Mahalapye to Gaborone to increase the volume of water available to the capital city.

Khato Civils submitted its tender, in which it claimed it could build the pipeline within 18 months.

Phiri claimed that competitor tenders set out far longer construction timelines and that they were riled by the Khato Civils bid. He alleged that competitors then lodged complaints with Botswana’s Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

Despite the setbacks, Khato Civils remains interested in Botswana as a market and has registered a Botswana division.

“We registered the company, but to actually operate you need to register with the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) of Botswana.”

Following delays, Phiri says Khato Civils has managed to secure PPADB registration.

The company plans to build on its existing investment into Botswana’s construction industry, with the building of new offices, warehouses and workshops. Although the NorthÔÇôSouth Carrier project has subsequently been cancelled, Phiri says he is keen to look at other projects and will await any new NorthÔÇôSouth Carrier projects. 

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