Keetmanshoop-Work at Fonteinjie fish farm at Keetmanshoop has resumed after repeated delays this year due to lack of funds.
The project, which was set for completion last year, remains incomplete but construction work has now at least resumed.
During a recent visit to the site, fisheries and marine resource minister Bernhard Esau slammed the main contractor, Edison Building Enterprises cc, for failing to complete the project in the stipulated time, saying contractors like them do not deserve to get tenders from government.
“I was told that this individual bought new cars instead of putting the money into the project. So, the project is years behind because of an individual. This is unacceptable,” Esau fumed during the visit.
A few weeks after the minister’s visit, the contractor responded positively, as work has started and is in full swing.
Manager of the fish farm, Peter Simasiku, told New Era that while there was doubt whether the contractor would be able to complete the project, the response has been encouraging.
He said it was agreed during a meeting at the site last week that the contractor be given time to complete the project, after he indicated that he was ready and capable to finish what he started.
“The effort put in by the contractor has been positive. He came on site and made sure that work was being done properly. This showed commitment and his willingness to finish the project,” he said. Simasiku said work is now 100 percent in progress, and he is hopeful the project could be completed soon if there are no obstacles. However, he could not give the exact date of completion, saying it is not easy to give a date considering unexpected obstacles that might hinder the construction.
“There were some shortcomings, and there might still be some challenges. So, it is not easy to say when construction will be done,” he said.
The foreman, Collin Hekemo, concurred with the farm manager that unforeseen circumstances can always come up, but he was confident that if progress continues at the current pace, construction can be done in two months’ time.
“If there are no challenges, I can say we can finish with all the work by the end of November this year,” he stated.
The N$20 million upgrade of the facility will see an increase in fish production from six tonnes per year to about 30 tonnes once completed.