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Home » News » Comments » Response to article on Charles-hill to Ncojane road project

Response to article on Charles-hill to Ncojane road project

Publishing Date : 26 September, 2017

Author :

KABELO A. EBINENG

I wish to thank you for the cordial and professional discussion we had during our meeting—leading to your commendable conclusion regarding how you would handle the issue going forward; and after receiving the factual information, which we offered to share with you.


By way of summary, I wish to confirm that:-

It is a fact that the approximately P440m Charles-Hill to Ncojane Road Project is behind schedule, and is the subject of on-going discussions to get things back on track towards its 36-month target completion schedule. This contract, as other duties falling under our ministry are the subject of recent and on-going briefs to the relevant parliamentary portfolio committee, among other public –interest stakeholders.


In the above context, it was our submission to you that—I, as Permanent Secretary, in this ministry, had, to date, neither sought nor declined any advice from either or both of the Attorney General (AG) of Botswana and the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) regarding the management of the underlying project. We advised that post your article, I had interviewed with the AG, in person.  He confirmed that he had not rendered any advice, as suggested by the newspaper report.


Regarding the status of the on-going consultations between the ministry and those employed in the project: it was not true that I had been scheduled to return and report to the parliamentary committee, this week. We advised that—I had also, since the publication of your article, contacted the Chairman (Honourable Rantuana) of the Committee. When we spoke, he was also unaware of any such arrangement.


Prevailing fact was that it had been agreed that after undertaking an on-going tour of several road projects, the Committee would, then, arrange that we meet, again. In this respect—we shared information to the effect that both I—in my capacity as an Accounting Officer (accompanied by other officials), and the Committee would meet at a later stage, but certainly after site trips, which will take place through the week beginning 25 September.


We advised that the aim of the meeting(s) would be to adduce further appreciation of where projects, generally, are; as well as to evaluate and see what corrective action can be implemented towards improving overall delivery of this and other projects. In this context, I informed you, as I did the Committee, that: an unacceptably high number of our projects, over the years, had not met time-completion and budgetary targets—further that this was something, which we were concerned about and, actively, seeking to turn around, sooner rather than later. In this respect we, as a ministry, appreciated the interaction with the Committee; as well as any stakeholder whose intervention or contribution can aid us towards better performance.


In the context of 5, above we would be engaging with the primary players—being the contractors, the consultants and our staff; as well as communities and enabling entities like the PPADB, the relevant local authorities, etc in order  to optimize efficiencies and delivery. Accordingly, we advised that the thrust of our conversations, and engagement would focus on three (3) key elements: being timely completion of projects, cost-effective (achievement of the desired quality at the lowest possible cost) delivery, and creation of employment (director and indirectly) through such development projects.


We emphasized that ours is to ensure that employment efforts, in particular, are not undermined by any tardiness, which leads to avoidable suspensions of works contracts etc. In conclusion, we agreed that I would summarize our discussion, and then have you consider what corrective action; if any, the Weekend Post can or could take.

I trust that this sufficiently covers the important issues we discussed, and addresses the areas of concern, which I had around the misleading report(s) to the effect that the ministry—as led by myself and the Honourable Minister may be acting improperly, imprudently by, among others, ignoring proper advice. This, as allegedly rendered by properly placed entities like the Attorney General and the PPADB—among other snippets that can, be of concern to our principals, in however form one may wish to define them. Please see points 3 and 4, above.


Kabelo A. Ebineng is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport

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