Poor work­man­ship Govt con­demns shoddy job on trans­mit­ter sites

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pa­trick Chi­tumba Mid­lands Bureau Chief

THE Gov­ern­ment has con­demned three sub­stan­dard trans­mit­ter sites in Mid­lands and Mata­bele­land North prov­inces.

ZimDig­i­tal, tasked with spear­head­ing the coun­try’s dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion pro­gramme, has or­dered that work at Zvisha­vane, Tsholot­sho and In­siza be re­done at the ex­pense of the con­trac­tors af­ter the jobs failed to meet the tech­ni­cal ex­pec­ta­tions.

In an in­ter­view at one of the sub­stan­dard tran­si­tory sites in Zvisha­vane yes­ter­day, the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices, Mr Ge­orge Charamba, said he was not amused with progress made at the site and two oth­ers in Tsholot­sho and In­siza.

He said there were 16 sites that were be­ing worked on adding that only three had been con­demned for sub­stan­dard work­man­ship.

“This is a very un­happy site, un­happy in the sense that it has not passed the tech­ni­cal ex­pec­ta­tions and we are not go­ing to ap­prove of this. It has emerged that three of the four legs have failed the test and that means we have to ei­ther blast it to the ground or move to a new site. But blast­ing is not an op­tion since we are sharing this site with an­other in­stal­la­tion. As you know, blast­ing ac­tu­ally af­fects our neigh­bour and in that case, li­a­bil­ity will at­tach to us.

“So it is not an op­tion at all. What it means is that we have to move away and (con­struct new legs). This is not the sense of mi­gra­tion we had an­tic­i­pated and it is be­ing done af­ter a lot of work.”

“So we have taken an un­prece­dented move of hav­ing to con­demn this. I re­mem­ber talk­ing to some con­trac­tor who said such works we are con­demn­ing are ap­pre­ci­ated in other coun­tries. I told him to take such sub­stan­dard work there. ”

He added: “What I want to tell Zimbabwe is that this is not a ZimDig­i­tal prob­lem, it is a prob­lem that is go­ing to be taken care of by the con­trac­tor. When ex­pec­ta­tions are not met, it means the con­trac­tor has to redo the work at his ex­pense.”

Mr Charamba said they were par­tic­u­lar about the set up of the trans­mis­sion sites be­cause of the dan­gers sub­stan­dard works posed to the sur­round­ings and also the life span they are ex­pected to re­main up­right.

“We are very par­tic­u­lar about this be­cause on top of the legs will sit 60 tonnes of steel. So if we don’t get it right at the very out­set, it means there is a real dan­ger that the tower will top­ple or its life span, which is be­tween 40 to 50 years, will be re­duced. You can imag­ine the struc­ture fall­ing and what it will do since it will be 113 me­tres high,” he said.

Mr Charamba said in to­tal there would be 24 new sites and 24 old sites to cover 80 per­cent of the coun­try with trans­mis­sion sig­nals.

“Over­ally we are happy with work on the ground. This is money and time that we are deal­ing with and this should tell you that we are very strict about the stan­dard of work. We have even hired a con­sul­tancy firm in civil works be­cause we only have com­pe­tence in com­puter and elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing and not civil en­gi­neer­ing,” he said.

Mr Charamba said once the 48 trans­mit­ters are in place, a team will go around the coun­try to see if there are dark ar­eas that need dig­i­tal trans­mis­sion.

He said more trans­mit­ters may be added.

Mr Charamba said the coun­try needed about $17 mil­lion to com­plete the process of pur­chas­ing set-top-boxes with $1,8 mil­lion be­ing for about 450 000 boxes to kick start dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion.

Mr Charamba said the $200 mil­lion dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion pro­gramme had the po­ten­tial to open new av­enues for the coun­try’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery.

Zimbabwe tar­gets to mi­grate from ana­logue to dig­i­tal trans­mis­sion by the end of this year.

Mr Charamba also vis­ited an­other site in Mashava.

Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices, Mr Ge­orge Charamba (right), with Broad­cast­ing Au­thor­ity of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and ZimDig­i­tal of­fi­cials tour the con­demned site in Zvisha­vane

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