Ministry of Transport rapped for shoddy work on the Plumtree-Harare-Mutare Road


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The Ministry of Transport was last week rapped for the shoddy work on the Plumtree-Harare-Mutare Road which was carried out by a South African company, Group 5.

When Deputy Transport Minister Michael Madanha said the major reason for the shoddy work workmanship was lack of supervision and poor workmanship, Mutasa South legislator Irene Zindi argued that this was not a valid explanation because the same company was making good roads in South Africa.

“We are saying Zimbabwe has no money and we are supposed to be very frugal in using the amount which we have but the Minister is responding and saying when the workers are carrying out their work, there is no inspection and yet they have to be paid after doing such a shoddy job,” Zindi said.

“My question to the Minister is, when they awarded the tender to this South African company which is constructing the Plumtree-Harare-Mutare highway, I am one of those people who drive along South African roads and they have magnificent roads yet this is the same company which is constructing roads in South Africa and doing the same job in Zimbabwe. Why are they doing a shoddy job in Zimbabwe and yet they do the best in South Africa? May I please have a response?”

Madanha responded: “The actual issue is poor workmanship. The supervision is there and the engineers are there but the problem is poor workmanship. That is the correct answer which I can give to this problem. Definitely as a Ministry, we have seen that something was amiss on the quality of our roads. So, what we are doing as a Ministry is that we are taking corrective measures so that whoever is responsible for delivering poor quality work must account for his actions at his cost. That is the solution to this problem.”

 

Q & A:

 

HON. ZINDI: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. My question is in relation to the issue of the road resurfacing or rehabilitation, that is, Harare-Mutare highway. As we speak, I would like to find out from the Minister what is the policy is in terms of mediocre performance by contractors when they are given tenders to undertake such major jobs and yet in less than a year, the road is already being patched up.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MADANHA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Zindi for asking such an important question. I think it is something very visible that some sections on our roads – particularly on this road which was recently rehabilitated, that is, the Plumtree-Harare-Mutare road, some sections are showing signs of failure. There are various reasons to this, the first one which we suspect is the major one and it has to do with lack of supervision and poor workmanship.

When it comes to the point of what the Ministry’s policy is – when there is a problem of construction, the contractor is supposed to carry out corrective measures at his own cost. That is the solution to this problem. The contractor is supposed to go and correct all defects of construction at his own cost. That is the solution to this problem and that is what is stated in the contract.

*HON. ZINDI: Supplementary. I was very much worried when I heard the response given. We are saying Zimbabwe has no money and we are supposed to be very frugal in using the amount which we have but the Minister is responding and saying when the workers are carrying out their work, there is no inspection and yet they have to be paid after doing such a shoddy job. My question to the Minister is, when they awarded the tender to this South African company which is constructing the Plumtree-Harare-Mutare highway, I am one of those people who drive along South African roads and they have magnificent roads yet this is the same company which is constructing roads in South Africa and doing the same job in Zimbabwe. Why are they doing a shoddy job in Zimbabwe and yet they do the best in South Africa? May I please have a response?

HON. MADANHA: The actual issue is poor workmanship. The supervision is there and the engineers are there but the problem is poor workmanship. That is the correct answer which I can give to this problem. Definitely as a Ministry, we have seen that something was amiss on the quality of our roads. So, what we are doing as a Ministry is that we are taking corrective measures so that whoever is responsible for delivering poor quality work must account for his actions at his cost. That is the solution to this problem.

HON. T. KHUMALO: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. What is Government’s policy on issues of the engineers that we trained at our local universities and why are we not using them to avoid this poor workmanship? What is Government’s policy on these engineers?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We cannot talk of engineers in Zimbabwe when this contract was already awarded to a South African company. Can we talk of that company and that particular road?

*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Supplementary. Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the chance to ask my question. I thank the Deputy Minister for the way he answered the question. You are now answering this way because we will be looking at the roads which have been repaired but they are in bad shape. It is less than two weeks since these roads were repaired and they are already bumpy and at times the tar melts. Are you telling me that when this poor workmanship was in progress you were not aware that this was going on? Were you not aware of what was happening? Do you not have inspectors?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, that question was responded to in English.

HON. T. KHUMALO: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Transport, in terms of the law of your Ministry which says when roads are being built by contractors whom you have awarded a tender, our engineers are supposed to supervise. So, my question is what is then Government policy on the issue of supervision to avoid this chaos that you are telling us about?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MADANHA): Thank you Madam Speaker. The Ministry has got engineers who are doing supervision but what happens in construction is that there might be poor workmanship which can go unnoticed but the contract is clear that any defect of construction on the road, the contractor is supposed to rectify those defects at his cost. I thank you.

HON. D. P. SIBANDA: Hon. Deputy Minister, earlier on you indicated that there could be a problem of supervision. Could you tell this House specifically at what point in your Ministry’s hierarchy, supervision could be lacking. What is the policy in terms of response to any queries that could have been put forward to your Ministry regarding infrastructure that falls under your Ministry?

HON. MADANHA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I also want to thank the Hon. Member for asking this question. Maybe there was a misunderstanding of some sort. I did not say that there is lack of supervision in the Ministry but I said that it is one of the causes – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – One of the causes of poor workmanship is lack of supervision, which is correct.

Now, the Ministry does its supervision through the Department of State Roads and this department is the one responsible for all the supervision and any defect which is a result of construction by the constructor is supposed to be rectified by the contractor at his cost. The Ministry will not foot any bill for the rectification of those works. I thank you.

(231 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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