Work is expected to resume soon on the construction of the multi-million dollar road between Namalubi, Isize and Luhonono (also known as Schuckmannsburg) in the Zambezi Region. The resumption of work follows government’s recent commitment to pay Nexus Civils the outstanding balance of N$30 million, Roads Authority chief executive officer Conrad Lutombi assured the media on Friday.
Nexus was owed money for three outstanding invoices and as a result, in September this year, stopped working on the road that is crucial in the flood-prone areas of Kabbe Constituency. The areas are situated in the low-lying areas of the Zambezi River.
Construction of the road, worth N$586 million, commenced on January 12, 2015 and is scheduled for completion by mid-April 2018.
“Nexus was one of the contractors where there were late payments and because of this Nexus as an emerging contractor decided to basically reduce the work. But we had a meeting with them, and I think as we speak now, they have resumed work until we close for the holidays,” Lutombi told the media on Friday in Windhoek.
Lutombi said that contractually contractors on capital project roadworks have every right to suspend work if government fails to honour its financial obligation within two months. Contractors engaged in labour-based roadwork can terminate their work within 28 days if not paid on time.
The disruption in the roadwork at Kabbe had earlier prompted Kabbe North Constituency Councillor Peter Mwala to air concerns, saying the “road is very important to residents of Kabbe.” His concerns were because the area gets swamped by floodwater and with the rainy season upon us there should be no delay in completing the contract.
“This road can also link Namibia to Zambia. I hope in the near future there will be a bridge to connect Namibia to Zambia via the border post at Mwandi. This road has a lot of potential. It also leads to the Kalimbeza national rice project. It will provide access to clinics at Luhonono and Isize and also provide access to schools at Isize, Sifuha, Malindi and Luhonono,” said Mwala.
“I intervened with government structures and they agreed that there was slow payment. They have agreed to pay the contractor. I also called Lutombi on Sunday and he agreed that there was a delay in payment. He told me they will make sure the contractor is paid,” Mwala said recently.
The total length of the road is 57 kilometres, of which 22km from Namalubi through Kalimbeza to Isize will be surfaced to bitumen standard. The 33km from Isize to Luhonono will be a new gravel road and the two kilometres from there to the Kalimbeza rice farm will be surfaced.
Ten small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) contractors have participated in the project in partnership with Nexus Civils, while more than 300 temporary jobs were created for local people.
The contracted SMEs are Oshikoto Road Services, Mbango Construction, Lirissa Investment, Dhipah Trading, Omupondo Construction, Shipiki Multi Enterprises, Flame Investment, Amakalu Construction, RN Mavenjono and Epatululo Trading.
The combined value of the SMEs’ portion of the project is estimated at N$120 million of the contract value.
The SME contractors are responsible for the construction of all the concrete works.
Nexus Civils has constructed a number of roads in partnership with other local companies in the country, such as the Karibib-Okahandja road among other major projects.