The 2010 World Cup, which is supposed to be good news for Botswana, is actually very bad news.
On the basis of a construction boom and a resultant rise in prices of building materials in South Africa, the cost for building four senior secondary schools in Botswana has more than doubled.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) is planning to build four senior secondary schools in National Development Plan 9. The schools will be a replica of Goodhope Senior Secondary School, which was built at a cost of around P300 million. The school opened at the beginning of this year,
MoESD’s Principal Public Relations Officer II, Godfrey Kalanke, says that the combined estimated cost for the schools is far more than the ministry had budgeted for.
Estimates for the construction of the school in Mogoditshane is the lowest at P547 054 862 80 while that in Shakawe is the highest at P802 049 980 19. Nata’s stands at P729 766 268 05 while Mmadinare’s is P668 204 310 70.
The rise in cost is a result of the construction boom in South Africa which is preparing for the 2010 soccer World Cup games. Africa Business says that, generally, the continent is experiencing the greatest construction boom since the 1970s. This boom has pushed up prices of building materials and even in South Africa some companies have had to import cement. This boom has very bad news for Botswana which imports virtually all such materials from South Africa. The boom also happens at a time when oil prices are on a one-way trip skywards.
“The building materials have to be transported to over here from South Africa; and so, the rising fuel prices have also contributed to the escalation in cost,” Kalanke says.
Despite the rise in costs, construction will go ahead though the government may have to trim some of the frills it spent during the construction of the Goodhope School.
“Learning and teaching, as well as the construction, will go on despite the escalation in costs. While we appreciate the need for a school environment to be attractive, we are going to have to provide what we can within our limited budget,” Kalanke says.
As an example, he adds that some of the schools may not have swimming pools and high-tech laboratories as the Goodhope School does.
Another major construction project that has been delayed and scaled down is that of the National Stadium in Gaborone because it would have gone more than 100 percent over budget.
The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Gladys Kokorwe, says that she has learnt from the Department of Building and Engineering Services that none of the bidders qualified for the job and that, as a result, the job will have to be tendered for.
Instead of the full refurbishment earlier planned, the only make-over will include little more than cosmetic changes to the soccer pitch, track and stands.
Kokorwe says that some of the civil works undertaken would be to ensure that the stadium complies with FIFA’s basic safety and security standards. The west-facing Pandamatenga stand will have its cracks patched up and seats erected to ensure the stand accommodates no more than its seating capacity ÔÇô 6000.
“There are times when the stand accommodates more than its capacity – which is not safe. The erection of seats and selling of limited tickets would ensure that capacity is not exceeded,” the minister says.
The wire fence around the soccer pitch will also be replaced by a dwarf wall.
Kokorwe says that the government expects the scaled-down refurbishment to be done by September when the stadium would be handed over.
About P90 million had been earmarked for the refurbishment but the figure shot up to about P230 million. The escalation in cost occurred as government was also planning to build a new stadium in Francistown at a total cost of P175 million.