Khato Civils are ready to roll out their state-of-the-art machinery and technical know-how to deliver with aplomb any project they are given in Botswana, anytime. The company is putting behind recent months frustrations at what they saw as sabotage from leading political figures, competitors and jealous relatives that resulted with them being investigated for money laundering and related matters – an accusation they had flatly denied. Khato Civils is an engineering and construction firm. South Zambezi, owned by the group, is a design engineering company and both are elegantly located at group headquarters in Midrand, Johannesburg. Group CEO Mongezi Myani said - “We are ready to start. We have submitted bids and if we win, we will go all out to show that we deserve the jobs. For us, high standards are our defining mark. There is no need for people to try to block us, as they have been doing, even before we could even win a single job.”
Khato Civils and South Zambezi executive chairman Simbi Phiri said they have strategically chosen to launch a state-of-the art headquarters for Tesmec production at their Mmamashia plant in Botswana. This is a partnership with an Italian family, who serve the world market from Italy and the USA. “If the region was to launch itself to improve infrastructure, it will have to rely on service providers who use the state of the art equipment or latest technologies. In my opinion using an excavator was good. It was a very good invention. It’s time has passed. Trenching has now changed to chainsaws that cut stone like cutting through soil. This is expensive equipment to procure, and to run. It takes 2000 litres of diesel a day to run. Tesmec is particularly a world class brand.” “Botswana carries with it the advantage of the easiness of transactions. The exchange controls here are not restrictive of the business. In as far as the money is clean, one is able to transact with ease, which is very important, since we will be selling the tesmec trenchers to the region and beyond,” he said. “This is the Rolls Royce. They are used mostly in the Middle East; where trenching is big through stones, where oil pipes stretch for hundreds of kilometres. They are dug and completed in very short time. We are aware that Southern Africa is still lagging behind in terms of the supply of clean water. We need to move fast in bringing water to the people. It is this technology, efficiency and world class standard and fast delivery that we want to provide to the region and the whole of the continent,” he said. While supplying machinery, in Botswana, there will be components that are made locally. “The teeth of the chainsaw will be produced locally. The company will also provide servicing and some parts. Khato Civils will also buy parts from Botswana,” Phiri said. A single Tesmec Trencher costs US $ 2, 5 million. The company has already deployed two of its Tesmec Trenchers in Malawi. They are undertaking a P6 billion Lake Malawi water project, to lay a 120 km pipeline, for the transfer of water from the lake, to the capital city, Lilongwe. A single Tesmec Trencher costs US $ 2, 5 million.
The company has a plot at Mmamashia where they have already located machinery worth P60m. They have applied for and been granted the change of use certificate by the land board. They are now at a stage where they will be responding to comments from the city town and regional planning officials about the designs and plans for the headquarters. “We are ready to start the building as soon as possible. We have already employed personnel on the ground, being the Country Director and Country manager. We shall be adding more jobs as we grow. We are not here for the North South Carrier Project, but for other projects as well. We will bid for other jobs and where we win we will set the standards in working very hard and efficiently. We want Gaborone not to have water problems,” said Phiri.
Having been given the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) certification by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) for Botswana, Malawi and Ghana the company is now focussed on setting up and growing business in these markets. “We will no longer be under the omnibus certification and now be able to invest fully in the areas we go to,” he said.
The company is hopeful, that going forward, the hurdles they have subdued will not stand in their way. “We wanted to set up in Botswana since 2004. The struggle was too much. Just registering at PPADB was like trying to go to Heaven. We hope that Government will deal with these many hurdles. However, we have dealt with more serious problems than those we found in Botswana and we shall therefore not be discouraged by anything,” said Phiri. As the clock ticks the country director Ishmael Maposa and his growing local team have their work cut out – build company headquarters, set up Tesmec and do all necessary to secure a stake in the country’s huge construction budget.