Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services (MLWSS) is caught between a rock and a hard place regarding the handling of the high capital water projects. The multibillion water projects which were meant to provide the nation with portable water especially the southern part of the country is said to be stalled due to the reactive decision taken by the ministry authorities last year.
Last year MLWS took a drastic decision to move high capital project from Project Management Office to WUC despite that some of them were at procurement stage.
MLWS is said to have ignored the advise that moving the projects from Project Management Officers to WUC is going to pose technical and legal challenges.
The ministry got stuck as there are legal huddles to deal with because the development of water infrastructure is the mandate of Project Management Officers not WUC whose mandate is the supply of water and maintenance of water infrastructure.
“The ministries have now been caught between the horns of a buffalo because should they try to transfer the project they have to amend the Water Works Act first and this can only be done by parliament.
Highly placed sources at the ministry have revealed that Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) has distance itself from the decision by MLWS.
PPADB Executive Chairman Elijah Talampe Motshedi has indicated that it is not their mandate to determine whether MLWS transfers the projects to WUC but they will only monitor if there is compliance of tendering procedures.
MLWS took decision to take away the high capital water projects from PMOs after the latter questioned the interference of the Office of the President in the tendering process.
At one point the PMOs were summoned at the Office of the President and instructed to suspend the awarding of the P1.3 billion Masama/Mmamashia pipeline project. They were informed that they must set aside the technical evaluation by Bergstan Consultant which shortlisted WBHO, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and China Jiangsu/ Unik Joint Venture.
The PMOs were instructed to go and re-do the technical evaluation though consultant were paid to do the work.
The projects that are going to be greatly affected is the North South Carrier 2.2 (NSC 2.2) which will transmit water from Palapye to Mmamashia. The project will supply villages in the Mahalapye cluster, greater Gaborone, Lobatse, Barolong sub district, Thamaga, Moshupa, kanye and Molepolole.
Another project which was intended to be transferred to WUC is the Gamononyane-Molepolole NSC Connection project.
Presenting his ministry budget, Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services Kefents Mzwinila the Gamononyane-Molepolole project is at procurement stage.
Strangely he failed to state whether they have already moved the project to WUC.
“The ministry has also, during the financial year 2019/2020 engaged consultants to work on the designs for Lobatse Water Supply Master Plan. Lobatse Water Supply Master Plan is a transfer scheme that will convey potable water to villages in the five constituencies of Lobatse, Moshupa-Manyana, Goodhope-Mabule, Ramotswa and Mmathethe-Molapowabojang,” said Mzwinila in his presentation.