ZAMBIAN Minister for Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga and Botswana Minister for Transport and Communications Tshenolo Mabeo have chided the contractor for Kazungula Bridge project on the slow progress made to construct the facility.
The two Ministers, who inspected the Bridge on Sunday afternoon, said people from the two countries would not want to be given excuses but that the infrastructure should be delivered on time.
Mr Mukanga asked the contractor to increase on labour and work hours to catch up with the project timeframe.
“Why should we have many catch up plans and now you have given us a catch up plan number five?
“Next time you will give us catch up plan number six and we are losing time! We are wasting time and we need to complete by 2018 as planned. We can not afford waiting while the contractor is doing his own programme,” Mr Mukanga said.
He said the two Governments expected progress and commitment and not catch up plans.
Mr Mabeo said the two countries wanted assurance that the project would finish on time as planned.
He said he was not convinced that the Bridge would be delivered on time.
“Whatever we are doing behind curtains as experts, people are looking for the Bridge. Can you do the work. This is a reputable project. Let’s work,” Mr Mabeo said.
Project Team leader Kobamelo Kgoboko said the contractor had proposed that he would catch up with the original plan by July 2016.
Mr Kgoboko said the contractor needed to work on both sides of the Bridge during the construction of the temporary bridge but had challenges currently.
In response, the contractor and project manager William Kim assured the two Ministers that the project would be delivered by 2018 as planned without compromising with quality and safety.
In September last year, Zambia’s former Vice President Guy Scott and Botswana Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe officiated at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of Kazungula Bridge.
Zambia and Botswana signed a contract with Daewoo Engineering and Construction for the construction of a road and rail Bridge across the Zambezi to at Kazungula Border.
The 923 meters long Bridge is expected to create about 2, 000 jobs in both countries during the construction period. It would be located at the confluence of Zambezi and Chobe Rivers about 65 kilometres upstream of the ‘mighty’ Victoria Falls.
The Bridge, which would be completed by 2018, will be financed by the Governments of Zambia and Botswana with financial assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).