Works and Transport Minister John Mutorwa is baffled about how some contractors entrusted to construct public facilities and other infrastructure receive hefty payments for incomplete work and at times poor workmanship.
He spoke during a press briefing of his first 60 days in office. He said he is aware of a house, a veterinary clinic in Keetmanshoop and a road that are incomplete but the bills keep coming to the ministry’s permanent secretary to be signed for payment.
“Something is wrong. I got no problem paying for work properly done and certified, I have no problem. But the airport in Katima Mulilo, in Ondangwa, there is a meteorological house in Katima Mulilo at Mpacha and in Rundu – they are almost finished but not operational and when you ask questions, you are told we are waiting for this and that. But I ask myself, how are the payments done because these facilities are meant to help people,” said Mutorwa, who feels an investigation and remedial action should be taken as this trend cannot be allowed to continue.
The minister was addressing works and transport senior officials, and CEOs and board chairpersons of all state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that resort under the works ministry.
Mutorwa stated that he also receives many valid complaints about poor construction, poor supervision of construction activities and usage of poor quality construction materials at public facilities and other public infrastructure. He warned the culprits the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them.
Mutorwa said he also received complaints about maintenance of these public facilities and infrastructure. “The irony is that government and some state-owned enterprises pay exorbitantly high amounts of Namibian dollars for some incomplete, poor quality and poorly maintained public facilities and infrastructure, which include government buildings, houses, roads, railway lines, airports, lifts in government buildings, etcetera.”
Mutorwa said he has also received reports about grumbling over tenders.
“Let me here and now advise and strongly warn all those persons who make themselves guilty about and of the above-mentioned misdeeds and vices that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with you.”
He said there are also numerous complaints received daily with regard to the allocation of government houses and flats to individuals and offices, ministries and government agencies that are simply too many. These complaints cannot simply be ignored or wished away, he added.
“Does government, for example, know how many assets, houses, offices, vehicles, etcetera, it owns? Is the national assets register available and updated? How many government buildings and houses could be found in the hands of individuals or institutions illegally?” Mutorwa questioned.
Mutorwa stated he has instructed the ministry’s housing committee through the permanent secretary to submit to him a comprehensive report with clear recommendations, and on its past activities, particularly during the 2017/2018 financial year in all 14 regions, by not later than April 30.