• Mass land servicing project challenges
• RCC struggles to keep up
• Local contractor ‘subcontracts’ Chinese company
• Windhoek off course, Walvis Bay on track
The Roads Contractor Company (RCC) risks being stripped of its mandate to service land under the Mass Urban Land Servicing Project over slow progress and failure to meet several project deadlines.
Having received the mandate without going through any tendering process, the cash-strapped parastatal received the site on 1 March 2016 and the contractual commencement date was set for 30 March 2016, but months later, RCC is yet to fully establish a site camp, documents pertaining to the project seen by The Patriot revealed.
Well-placed sources told this publication that RCC was handed the mandate to take charge of the N$64 million servicing project despite objections from the City of Windhoek and other officials forming part of the committee due to the company’s financial and technical capacity and Windhoek Consulting Engineers.
“The ministry [Urban and Rural development] insisted that RCC be given the contract despite several objections from committee members but they would not listen, look where we are now,” said a committee member, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The project duration is set for 16 months, but with the current delays, those involved in the project fear the deadline will not be met with RCC at the helm. The project completion date is 30 July 2017.
The slow pace is not the only challenge plaguing the project, documents further reveal that RCC is not only struggling financially, but also technically.
“No substantial CVs on the technical staff involved with RCC could be submitted to WCE to date. No confirmation by RCC could be submitted to date as to which laboratory would be responsible for the quality testing site,” Windhoek Consulting Engineers associate, Lange Ndjoba, told the sub-committee members at a meeting held on 13 July 2016, according to the meeting notes of the sub-committee seen by this newspaper.
The lack of progress has prompted Dr John Steytler, who forms part of the State House advisory team on the project, to indicate that “RCC should be engaged to determine the bottlenecks causing the delays”.
Steytler yesterday told this publication that he expressed concern about the slow pace, adding that: “I suggested that RCC be engaged to better understand why they are progressing at such a slow pace. If during that engagement process it turns out they are unable to deliver on the contractual obligations, consideration should be given to revoke the contract.”
He further added: “Under Harambee [Prosperity Plan], we talk of accelerated development, therefore, we must keep our eyes on the ball.”
Ndjoba further indicated that: “There is currently a delay experienced on the Goreangab site.”
He said daily site monitoring is being conducted but RCC is not forthcoming.
The WCE engineer also indicated that the site camp is not yet fully established, fencing is halfway erected and there is no connected ablution facilities on site.
Ndjoba informed the committee that RCC was subsequently penalised 10 percent on the payment certificate for failing to submit the contractual performance guarantee.
RCC’s woes have been compounded by its increasingly unfavourable financial position.
As for the utility providers, each company must review its master plan to ensure that sufficient bulk supply services to areas where the Mass Housing Programme will take place are possible.
Namwater is in the process of providing an overview of the bulk water requirements to indicate whether funding is required to upgrade its bulk water supply system.
As for the communication part, the progress report states that: “A final decision has not been made as to the inclusion of telecom to all the mass housing projects.” Stakeholders fear that the inclusion of such services will burden the development with additional costs.
On the technical front, WCE is worried about the “old layout which is impractical with road reserves and narrow cul-de-sacs”. WCE has proposed that the ministry write a letter to the City of Windhoek regarding this issue.
There are also concerns that feedback presented to the technical committee is not a true reflection of the situation on site because the reports are submitted by consultants, the report stated.
“It was proposed that the ministry’s technical team be invited to any site meeting.”
At least 338 plots will be freed up once the servicing of the area is completed.
WCE has availed free engineering design and project management services to government for the Goreangab Extension 4 project.
According to a standing agreement between WCE and the City of Windhoek, once the designs are complete, WCE will draw up the tenders for the actual construction of the services as well as the evaluation of tenders submitted by contractors.
Ehenye Extension 3&8, Oshakati
As for the Ehenye project in the north, WCE said there are currently no problems on the site.
“The electrical contractor is slightly behind schedule, but there is no worry as to any late completion as their work is not on the critical path,” Ndjoba informed the committee.
Enenye Extension 2&7, Oshakati
Ino Investments is the contractor appointed for the project, but there are concerns that they are sub-contracting the work to a Chinese contractor, which would not be contractual as only up to a certain percentage of work may be sub-contracted, the report indicated.
“Ino Investments is currently making the client believe that the Chinese workers are full-time employees of the company, but the mere fact that a construction name board with only the Chinese contractor’s name as the main contractor was erected on site, is clear evidence they are rather sub-contracted,” said Ndjoba.
WCE has since been tasked to investigate the matter and report back to the sub-committee.
“The progress was slacking, but has recently picked up speed and progress is currently good,” the document states.
Concerns were raised that there is no hands-on supervision by the consultant on the project.
Kuisebmond Extension 7, Walvis Bay
The progress report indicates that work on the project in Walvis Bay is progressing according to plan and is 80 percent complete.
Ndjoba referred any queries surrounding the project to Ministry of Urban and Rural Development Permanent Secretary, Daniel Nghidinua, saying he is not at liberty to make any comments.
However, Nghidinua could not be reached when contacted for comment and a text message left on his mobile phone was not answered.