Councillors demand answers on controversial P1.7b road
Councillor Mareme tables motion demanding answers on the project “When will project start and where, between Mankgodi and Mogoditshane?”
Construction of the 27KM Mogoditshane- Gabane- Mankgodi Junction Road has now caused an uproar at Kweneng District Council, as political officers demand answers about the project.
This comes after Botswana Guardian reported last week that the project tender has since 2019 been rocked by controversy when it emerged that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security ( DIS) halted the awarding of the tender under the pretext of investigating possible corruption, while the situation on the ground tells a different story.
Councillors in the district especially in Mogoditshane/ Thamaga Sub district now want the leadership to explain the puzzle regarding the project. The CONSTRUCTION OF PULA SPAR MOGODITSHANE- GABANE - MMANKGODI TENDER NUMBER WOR 7/ 17/ 9( 1) was initially budgeted for P1.4 billion as per the Project Engineer’s estimates at the time of Tender Closing on April 24th 2019. However, investigations have revealed that the budget for the Dual Lining Road ( dual carriage) has now been increased to P1.7 billion with a likelihood of reaching P1.9 billion.
Sources have revealed to this publication that while the DIS has completed its investigations and found no flaws, the Directorate is plotting to have the tender awarded its preferred Chinese Contractor with close ties within the government enclave. According to information passed to this publication, Pula Consulting which was appointed lead Consultants, did evaluation and recommended as follows: CC/ SS JV 96.5 percent; MGM JV TIEC/ CRIG 83.5 percent; CRSG- RAUBEX JV 82.6 percent; CCECC- LM- ZT JV 81.7 percent; and CFHEC & COLIC JV 79.8 percent.
Councillors now demand written communication from the Department of Roads on the issue after the Transport Ministry and PPADB indicated that the project is at adjudication stage, while information shared with councillors is that the tender has since been awarded.
This week Botswana Guardian has it in good authority that the Kweneng District Council has to reveal information on the tender after councillor for Gabane South East Ofentse Mareme last week sponsored a motion on the project demanding updating on the breakdown of the project.
“We are waiting for information on the tender. Chairman what is really going on with this tender? I want to know what is going on here because we are getting conflicting information. There is information of tender being awarded, while we read in publications of it being at adjudications stage.
“I want to move a motion that the project be done in stages, let us start with it from Mankgodi junction to Kanye junction in Mogoditshane. We hear that the tender has been awarded while there is shortage of funds and I am asking that with what we have, let us start with the critical part of the project.
“I recommend that we start from Mankgodi to Mogoditshane because this is the part where we face a lot of road accidents and this is the part where according to what we were told, will not take the bulk of the budget of the project,” Mareme said, during the Kweneng District Council meeting.
He told the council that according to what they got from the council briefing, the road is more expensive in Mogoditshane where more developments are to take place, among them moving current residents along the road and making it a flyover road at Super- save inter- junction ( Mogoditshane- Molepolole Road inter- road).
He demanded the list of companies that tendered ratings.
He said since the project seeks a lot of money while the P1.4 billion is available, it has to be done in phases with the first one being from Mankgodi with less financial implication as compared to other parts where a lot of money is needed.
The councillors especially those under the Thamaga/ Mogoditshane Sub District Council are this week expected to support the motion to at least get information on the project and or implementation as per their desire as has long been promised the residents of the three villages.
In an excuse for the delay of the awarding of the tender, the Ministry is said to have indicated that since the budget has gone up to P1.7 billion, it is still sourcing funds to cove the P300 million excess of the initial budget.
According to the Mogoditshane/ Thamaga Sub District Development Committee Report dated 9th - 13th August 2021, the planned date for the start of the construction was July 2019.
The Report indicates that the status is that the PPADB on 29th April 2021 stood down the award of the tender pending the Ministry ( MTC) to submit PPADB Form 3 which is a tool confirming the availability of funds. According to the report the Ministry is still addressing the matter.