Thousands of Batswana throughout the country have had to go without running water because of questionable decisions and administrative blunders at the Department of Water Affairs. The blunders are costing tax payers millions of pula.
Investigations carried out by The Sunday Standard on some villages which have been hit by water shortages turned up incidents of questionable decisions bordering on corruption, and blunders by the Department of Water Affairs.
An investigation on the recent water crisis in Hunhukwe, Ncaang and Monong in the Kgalagadi area revealed how the village water supply project suffered a major setback because the Department of Water Affairs’ authorities awarded a multi million pula tender to a supplier who supplied sub standard pipes that did not meet the tender specifications.
The design of Hunhukwe, Monong and Ncaang water was completed in June 2001 by EHES (Pty) LTD. The scheme is an interconnection of the water supply to the three villages. Construction of the project started in September 2001 but, once laid in trenches, the pipes started bursting and leaking and the water never reached Ncaang and Monong tanks.
Further investigations by Water Affairs officers confirmed earlier warnings by experts that the pipes were of inferior quality and did not conform to tender specifications. The investigation report states that “it is concluded that lack of proper communication amongst the construction crew led to failure to address the problems of this scheme in time. One such instance is when the pipes were brought from site after the construction crew complained of their quality.” The crew was referred back to site without solving the problem.
According to the report which has been passed to The Sunday Standard, further investigations by the Botswana Bureau of Standards in conjunction with the South African Bureau of Standards confirmed that the pipes used in the project were of inferior quality and did not conform with the tender specifications. “Failure of the pipe is attributed to quality of the pipe material. This is evidenced by the cracking of the pipe when they were unrolled; and the failure of the pipe to meet SABS 533”, stated the report.
This is in spite of the fact that the supplier, in his tender document, claimed that the pipes he was supplying were “manufactured to SABS 533 or equivalent” as specified in the tender requirements.
The substandard pipes were also used in Kanye, Molepolole and Maun where they also burst resulting in regular disruptions of water supply.
All the pipes have since been exhumed at cost to tax payers and replaced with pipes that conformed to tender specification while the supplier was allowed to get away with supplying sub standard pipes.
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