Thursday, March 4, 2021

Where does the truth lie?

There seems to be an air of confusion regarding the re-grassing of the University of Botswana (UB) stadium.

Recently one local newspaper carried a story saying the company that was given the job abandoned the project because the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) failed to give them an amount of money to carry the project to the next level.

But now BNSC is singing a different tune, raising eye brows.

The Executive Secretary of BNSC, Kitso Kemoeng, told Sunday Standard at a press conference on Friday that the contractor, (Kikuyu Instant Lawn (Pty) Ltd, withdrew from the contract because he failed to deliver as expected and was running behind time.

When asked about the issue of BNSC failing to give him a certain amount of money, Kemoeng did not want to comment further but added that they do not owe the contractor a cent.

“Warning lights started to flash in March this year when the contractor was regularly not on site. Even then, he continued to give an assurance that the project would be delivered on schedule. In one of the rare occasions when he appeared on site, the contractor assured our Minister and her delegation that the project was even ahead of schedule despite the fact that what was seen on the ground indicated otherwise,” he said.

Kemoeng added that, latter, a meeting was arranged with him to restore the momentum of the project. In one of the meetings, Kemoeng said the contractor failed to do some soil tests to move the project to the next level.

“In one of the meeting he requested to deal directly with the BNSC minus our project managers. As BNSC we refused because we are not technically equipped to quality assure his work and on that account he withdrew from the contract the very same day we met him, which was on April 29,” Kemoeng said.

He, however, admitted that following the withdrawal of Kikuyu, they were destined for failure because they had lost an enormous amount of time on the project and as such they had to look for another option. BNSC had to then look for another contractor as soon as possible.

“Our immediate move was to go back to the shortlist following selective tender processing. The remaining two tenders declined the job on account of lack of resources to complete it within such a short space of time. We, however, ended up landing a South African company, Evergreen Turf (Pty) Ltd. The company I can say is being credited for re-grassing of major stadiums including the ones earmarked for the 2010 World Cup,” he said.

Kemoeng also added that they engaged the company just three weeks ago and spent some days engaged in some logistical work, like awarding of permits and customs clearance. Even though the stadium is not fully surfaced, Kemoeng added that the stadium will be ready for a friendly game against New Zealand on June 6 and even for this week’s Southern region Athletics championships.


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